Vienna, Austria | June 2-3 2005

On 2 and 3 June 2005, experts from all over the world came to Vienna to share visions on and discuss about the topic of ?ICT & Creativity?, a burning issue not just for the Austrian government, which hosted the event.

At this official WSIS Meeting, helping to prepare the Second Phase of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society that will take place in Tunis from 16-18 November 2005, key business people met ministers and state secretaries, researchers, creatives and members of the civil society, but also thinkers who are very critical of the Digital Revolution.

?ICT plus Creativity equals Content? was the ?formula? of the conference, prominent on banners behind more than 80 high-level speakers and a total of 400 participants from over 35 countries. The word ?content? sparked debates on various issues and problems the Information Society is currently facing.

At 10 workshops and three keynote sessions, plus in a ?creative amphitheatre? where outstanding multimedia projects were presented, the abstract term ?content? was filled with life and energy, as people who gave speeches and people who asked questions sometimes agreed on and sometimes argued about issues like how pluralism on the Internet can be fostered, how e-Democracy can be strengthened or how copyright laws can be enforced in a cyber world that knows no borders and checkpoints.

Should content be free of charge and accessible to everyone? Should people have to pay for it, to secure that authors and designers get something in reward for what they have created? Or do we have to think of completely new business models for the world of new media? Is hacking a crime or an act of creativity? Of course Patrick De Smedt, Chairman of Microsoft Europe and EMEA, had a different opinion on this issue than Georg C. F. Greve, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. And what did a renowned digital artist like Mark Amerika have to say about this, or Joseph Weizenbaum, the man who has been defining the field of computers and education for the last half century? Opinions differed widely, but the necessity to build bridges became very clear, as there is an urgent need to fight the ?Digital Divide? and ?Content Gap? worldwide. And this can only be done effectively by joining forces.

?Conference? has the same origin as the word ?to confer?, for which another word is ?to converse?. The aim of the Vienna event was to make people talk and think rather than to offer easy solutions. As Wolfgang Schüssel, Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria, pointed out: This WSIS Thematic Meeting was a ?competition of ideas?.

Outcome: The Vienna Conclusions
A crucial outcome of the Vienna Conference on ICT & Creativity, which took place from June 2-3 2005, is the ?Vienna Conclusions? document. This living document consists of two parts: (a) the chapeau and (b) the topic sections.

(a) The chapeau of the ?Vienna Conclusions? is a shared effort, drafted by Peter A. Bruck ? on the basis of a disputation with the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk ? and edited, reworked and re-written by a Drafting Committee, taking into consideration recommendations from conference participants.

(b) The topic sections are the result of presentations and discussions in 10 workshops.

The ?Vienna Conclusions? have been published on a Blog, and comments and further alterations were welcomed as part of the preparation process for the second phase of the WSIS in Tunis and the working meetings and content fora organised in the framework of the World Summit Award (WSA).

The WSA is Austria?s official contribution to the WSIS, and its message is the same as outlined in the ?Vienna Conclusions?: Creativity and a strong focus on the quality and diversity of content are needed to make ICT become the fundament for an Information Society we all can ? and want ? to be part of.

Franz Morak, Head of the Austrian Delegation at the WSIS in Tunis, is going to present the main outcomes of the ?Vienna Conclusions? at the UN summit.

The Conference Secretariat would like to thank you for your efforts on and interest in this living document. We hope that the ?Vienna Conclusions?, which can be accessed here, will continue to be a living document, not mainly by giving answers but by sparking fruitful discussions and competitions of ideas in Tunis.
© 2005 International Centre for New Media