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I’ve been exchanging Tweets with Pierre Lévy.

He mentioned that he would come to Brazil in August.

I asked him for an interview by e-mail, because I was curious about his current work.

Generously, he sent me his e-mail address and the interview was done.

Here is the result:

(A versão em português pode ser vista aqui.)

Nepô – You have published many books in the past and achieved an important role worldwide as a philosopher focused on understanding technology issues. I’d like to know if you have been working on a new book these days? If yes, what is it about?

Lévy – For the last seven years, I have been working full time on the design of an artificial language, called IEML (www.ieml.org) that has the expressive capacity of a natural language and the computability of a programming language. My first goal is to solve the semantic interoperability problem by using IEML as pivotal language for semantic tagging.

My second goal is to solve the problem of the self-reference of online collective intelligence since it becomes possible to track the semantic content of the flows of information in cyberspace when the semantic metadata is in IEML. The IEML research program is complementary of the “semantic web” research program but goes far beyond and has much more ambitious objectives. There will be a book in one or two years but the language itself is more important than the book that will explain it.

Nepô – Why don’t you have an active blog?

Lévy – Because, as a philosopher, I’m not interested in investing my time and efforts into ephemeral texts. I enjoy reading blogs (or reading newspapers), but I don’t enjoy writing a blog (or writing for daily papers). I am more interested in deep and long meditations that explore unknown subjects about which nobody is speaking and that very few understand or are interested in. The result of these kind of meditations can be a book (of course the book can be in digital form) or another sustainable object (like IEML).

Nepô – In one of your books, you wrote from a historical point of view about three cognitive ecologies: oral, written and digital. What kind of changes do you believe determine the rupture from one to another? Do you believe that there is some kind of rule in these ruptures? And, if you could predict, what will the next ecology be? And when?

Lévy – The technical basis of the media ecology of digital culture is already there. We are witnessing the very beginning of the new era. But we still have not invented the new concepts, institutions and, above all, the new*symbolic systems* that will fit the digital cognitive ecology. The design of IEML is an attempt to fill this gap. The rupture between cognitive ecologies is marked by a change in the mindset, in the workings of the collective cognition: this will happen very soon, maybe even in one generation.

Nepô – You told me that you were coming to Brazil in August, I’d like to know what for?

Lévy – In Porto Alegre: http://www.internetcorporativa.com.br/forum2009/Palestrante.php

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Twitter in Portuguese. Follow me.

(More Neposts in English.)

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