1.1 Introduction

The evolution from the industrial society to the information era is a crucial juncture of our times and a usual concern in classrooms, offices and streets. However, the very concept of information puts forward deep and challenging questions. Just one binary digit may tell us if the universe is about to collapse, therefore being very informative, and all millions of terabits on the web (measured in a shannonesque manner) may also be generated by whim of electrons in a rheostat, therefore being uninformative.

Mathematical Communication Theory makes it possible to measure the capacity of channels and to understand information in its syntactical aspects, as a physical magnitude. Information is measured on average and messages are result of combinations of objects selected from a predetermined set. However, the informational content of typical human messages seems to have semantic properties of its own (not on average) that are not apprehensible in bits. This preliminary project asks: which are the difficulties both theoretical and technical, both conceptual and technological to be found in defining a useful unified information concept, valid for cables and organisms, for antennas and societies, for robots and mental states?

This project is essentially interdisciplinary, beyond any rhetoric. It crosses different scientific, academic and social disciplines, as methodologically reflected here, pursuing the objectives of:

a)    Elucidating the notion of information in a scientifically fertile way, including the clarification of the limits and means of the informational metaphors commonly used (as it is also proposed by Krippendorf).

b)    Set up an effective interdisciplinary work, creating tools for mutual comprehension and criticism.

c)    Give place to social interest in the vision of information.

d)    Clarify the role of information technologies at personal and social levels.

e)    Obtain a global stance toward problems related to information in contemporary plural societies.