Pekka Himanen – Finland

Linked with Global, and with ‘A global dream‘.

Read: CORRECTING and REPLACING – Young Global Leaders Promote Global Dignity; ”Dignity Day in Davos” Precedes World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2007, (January 24, 2007): … Global Dignity GD is an initiative founded by YGLs HRH Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway; Pekka Himanen, Professor of Philosophy, University of Art and Design Helsinki and Visiting Professor, Oxford University; and “Silver Rights” movement activist and Operation HOPE, Founder, Chairman and CEO, John Hope Bryant last year during the WEF Annual Meeting 2006. A dozen YGLs will also visit local classrooms to promote “Dignity Day in Davos” activities … (full text).

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Pekka Himanen – Finland

He is born October 19, 1973, and is today a Finnish philosopher.

He says (about the NetAcademy Model): Two excerpts: … “I’m involved in the virtual university things in many ways. Last year I wrote the virtual university’s paper for the Minister of Education in Finland. And at the end of the last year, the Finnish government decided to partly fund a virtual university as a collaboration of the universities and companies.

This approach has a life of its own, but I would say that there is another side to the story about the future of learning, as this is only half, or at most half, of the story in Finland, and this other side consists of self-organized grassroots projects. And the one that I’ll talk about is called the NetAcademy, which could be summed up as the Internet era continuation of the original academic model. It shares some of the key Socratic ideas that were behind Plato’s academy, the first western university in the wide sense, which he founded in the 4th century B.C. And it was not founded with technological enthusiasm, but on a certain nature of academic thinking and learning which was built to support that model” …

… The NetAcademy model is also an open source model. And that is the exact sense in which it is an anti-movement to the government of commercial virtual universities that are being founded in Finland. And, of course, the open source movement has an especially strong position in Finland, mainly thanks to Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux Operating System, which has thousands of developers and millions of users worldwide. The point in the open source model is that you start with some problem, and you give your solution openly for others to use, share, develop, and test. And what we are now doing here is we are building the Net Academy as an open process, in which all of its technology base is open source. So if you have a new technical idea, you can develop it further and build on the work of others. But it doesn’t apply only to the technical level, but also to the content, because it’s an open content process. So the way the learners study in these courses is that they first define problems, and then they use different information sources to find solutions to those problems, to criticize and further develop the ideas of the others. They are not the users of the learning materials, but the creators. So the learners teach the future learners. (full text).
He studied philosophy (and computer science as a minor) at the University of Helsinki and received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the same university in 1994 for a thesis on philosophy of religion on The challenge of Bertrand Russell as the youngest Ph.D. in Finland.

He has done research work in Finland (University of Helsinki), the United Kingdom, and the United States (Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley) and has done field work in India, China and Japan. In UC Berkeley, Manuel Castells and Himanen founded a research centre of information technology and information society.

Himanen has also been a counselor to the president of Finland, Finnish government (including the Ministry of Education) and Finnish parliament in the field of information society, keeping a sustained dialogue on human-oriented information society with the leading IT companies of the world.

Currently, Himanen works as a Principal Scientist at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, where he leads a research project on global network society. He is also a Professor of Creative Economy at the University of Art and Design Helsinki and a Visiting Professor at Oxford University.

In his book HimEros written as a dialogue, Socrates’ wife Xanthippe relates to the Helsinkian what happened to Socrates in Hades, how Socrates decided to escape from Hades and go to study philosophy at the University of Helsinki, and how he was arrested, sentenced to death and executed as a result of a three-day conversation with the philosophers of the University. Xanthippe also transmits Socrates’ dialogue with the university teachers of philosophy Cyborg (Stephen Hawking), Pope (John Paul II), Unabomber (Theodore Kaczynski) and Madonna (Madonna Ciccone).

In Hacker Ethic, Himanen is trying to understand the core of informationalism, the post-industrialist paradigm, extending the ideas of Manuel Castells’ Information Age. As an alternative to the industrial-capitalist protestant work ethic he proposes a hacker ethic as something like a cyber communitarianism. This is a new system on the capitalism, that as if abandons capitalism. The structure of the information society is a web, which in contemporary business world manifests itself, for instance, in dynamic outsourcing and even cooperation with one’s competitors. The “knots” of such a web get activated according to the needs and opportunities.

According to Himanen, the three main features of hacker ethic are:
- enthusiastic, passionate attitude to the work that is enjoyed;
- creativity, wish to realize oneself and one’s ability, often in teams that are formed spontaneously (project orientation);
- wish to share one’s skills with a community having common goals, along with the need to acquire recognition from one’s “tribe”; one is motivated by inner zeal rather than external awards: the fruits of one’s work are donated to everybody for their advances and further developments.

Manuel Castells thinks that the innovations produced by hackers are the foundations of the development of the whole culture. According to Himanen, the social hackerism begins from such things as vegetarianism, whereas the opposite of it is represented by Microsoft and the licensing of computer programs. Himanen thinks that in the information society we need a radical lack of prejudice, such as he has met in philosophy lessons to children. A critical challenge of the Internet era is the ability to meet the other human being.

Those wishing to read further will turn to two takes on the web’s political economy – The Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of the Information Age, written by Pekka Himanen in 2001, and … (full text, Jan. 18, 2007).

Pekka Himanen is part of the research team of the project Social Policy in Late Industrializers: The Nordic Countries. For this project, he is writing a paper with the title E-Welfare State: Ideas Based on the Nordic Model of the Information Society. (read here).

Read in danish: Finland – det alternative Silicon Valley, interview med Pekka Himanen, nov. 2002: Silicon Valley er et ethvert erhvervsråds våde drøm: Fart og tempo, en magnet for talent, masser af risikovillig kapital, entreprenørånd, og et behageligt fravær af beskatning og lovmæssige forpligtelser. Intet under, at der i slutningen af 90′erne blev skabt 60 dollarmillionærer i området om dagen. Silicon Valleys nærmeste konkurrent er… Finland. En velfærdsstat med den kendte høje beskatning, en høj grad af statslig styring, et samfund med vægten på lighed og tryghed. Ikke desto mindre regnes den finske økonomi for en af de 2-3 mest konkurrencedygtige i verden, og FN har opgjort landet til at være det teknologisk mest avancerede i verden. (full text).

Read: Pekka Himanen: unelma viitoittaa tietä onnistumiselle, Luova intohimo ja rikastuva yhteisö tuottavat menestystarinoita.

Read: Tarvitaan perusteltua uskoa tulevaisuuteen.

Read: Kirjailijat, Pekka Himanen.

His boooks:

on amazon;

on alibris;

on LibraryThing;


design for all;

Oxford Internet Institute;

Finland for Thought;

Manuel Castells;

Creative Capital Conference.

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