Syntegration Topic (Return to List of Topics)


Topic ICTs, Context and Face-to-Face Communiction
Participants | Ian Perry | Pete Barnsley | David Best | Raul Espejo | John Mingers |
Critics | Consuelo Davila | Chris Atkinson | Roger Harnden | Keith Pheby | Clas-Otto Wene |

Meeting 1 Notes

Meeting 2 NotesMeeting 3 NotesOutcome Resolve

Co-ordinator = John Mingers

Date: 8 July  Time: 18:25 to 19:25  Facilitators: Delia & Hector


  • It seems important to des-embody cognition from mind/body, especially in Artificial Intelligence. 
  • We need to put the body back into the thinking about communication.
  • It seems that computing and Internet neglects the role of the body in the act of communication.
  • We can say that the fundamentals of human interactions have not changed much recently, however, ICT still cannot take into account of this fundamentals at the level of semantics. 
  • ICT enables different types of distance communication.
  • ICT lacks awareness of the context in which the communicator is operating.
  • When there is a lack of face-to-face in communication, something significant is lost
  • ICTs have a very low variety, as a mean, they have to allow for more than just inform.
  • In the past, we experienced mostly immediate and usually non-effective communications. Today, are ICTs displacing face-to-face communications? Or are they actually extending our range of communication?
  • Notice that if there is no embodiment it is impossible to achieve a cohesive collective.
  • ICTs enhance some aspects of communication, like distance. It is a two way non-trivial process in which it is not enough to receive a simple feedback of the message.
  • Face-to-face communication implies the role of the body in communication processes. Does it provide us with more "understanding" of the communication process?


  • In the future ICT will be richer in its channel capacity.
  • Does this development of ICT lose something (as a locked-in) or will it enrich society?
  • ICT lead to a radically different society.
  • What is the role of the cyber-organisation body: Is it the enlargement of human experience? Is it dehumanising?
  • The role of the body will be redefined. It will be seen as being part of a sort of co-evolution.
  • Remember that our discussion is about "human" communication.
  • In Colombia, for example, ICT has enhanced the face-to-face communication. The High Commission of the Peace Process communicate with the 'guerrilla' leaders through cellular phone and other electronic media.
  • Notice that it is not clear if the body could be 'virtual' in the future.


  • ICT is not solely concerned with communication - but give rise to problems of social exclusion as well.
  • How can ICTs act as humans? Can Artificial Intelligence (a kind of ICT) imitate human action and interaction?
  • The role of context is important here (i.e., the context of communication).
  • We lose a dimension of complexity (i.e., face-to-face) when we use ICT. Is this a limitation of the current state of technology?
  • Does face-to-face always imply "justice", "fairness" (i.e., through the role of interpretation)?
  • In using ICT there is a risk of a "lock-in", a loss of diversity.
  • Many levels of technology can exist at once - may be ICTs will not be all encompassing.
  • Contextual information is seriously limited through ICTs. 
  • It is difficult through ICTs to build up fair and adequate social systems.
  • The "lock-in" of ICT can reduce our capability to evolve because it reduces our future diversity.
  • Tactile experience is needed in communication.
  • Can we take a body as a complex contextualised disclosure of communication? Perhaps ICT can add to this.
  • We need to share contexts and not only technology in communicating with others.
  • The role of ICT for adding/complementing human communication is an important issue.


  • We need to change the title of this topic to something like: ICT and/or/for supporting face-to-face communications.
  • We think that ICT, in the future, will increase our communication capacity?
  • Lock-in and ICT can develop patterns that influence in a fundamental way the communication processes.
  • The context in which each one of us is in has to be taken into account during communication.