Rice University, USA
Technology is Driving the Future, But Who Is Steering?
The benefits of computing are intuitive. Computing yields tremendous societal benefits; for example, the life-saving potential of driverless cars is enormous. But computing is not a game - it is real - and it brings with it not only societal benefits, but also significant societal costs, such as labor polarization, disinformation, and smart-phone addiction. The common reaction to this crisis is to label it as an "ethical crisis" and the proposed response is to add courses in ethics to the academic computing curriculum. This talk will argue that the ethical lense is too narrow. The real issue is how to deal with technology's impact on society. Technology is driving the future, but who is doing the steering?
Moshe Y. Vardi is a University Professor, the George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering, and Director of the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology at Rice University. He is the recipient of three IBM Outstanding Innovation Awards, the ACM SIGACT Goedel Prize, the ACM Kanellakis Award, the ACM SIGMOD Codd Award, the Blaise Pascal Medal, the IEEE Computer Society Goode Award, the EATCS Distinguished Achievements Award, the Southeastern Universities Research Association's Distinguished Scientist Award, and the ACM SIGLOG Church Award. He is the author and co-author of over 600 papers, as well as two books: Reasoning about Knowledge and Finite Model Theory and Its Applications. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Mathematical Society the Association for Computing Machinery, the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science, the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the European Academy of Science, and Academia Europaea. He holds six honorary doctorates. He is currently a Senior Editor of of the Communications of the ACM, after having served for a decade as Editor-in-Chief.
TU Wien, Austria
Communities and technology in a fragmented society
Communities have always played a particular role in societies. To put it somewhat drastically, communities provide a warm nest in an otherwise cold world. Experiencing commonalities brings about orientation, solidarity and security for the insiders, but also comes with bordering and distance to others. Often, but not necessarily, communities have a territorial dimension. In recent years, however, technological change and to some extent also the algorithmisation of communication has brought about new forms of communing that go beyond (and potentially replace) traditional forms of connecting and bonding. The results have been described as „filter bubbles“ and „echo chambers“ and seem to challenge our democracies, institutions and social cohesion. At the same time, new technologies also hold the potential to cross community borders, link up to people that couldn’t otherwise be reached and mobilise around shared interests, eg against oppressive structures. This keynote address introduces the concept of community and practices of communing and discusses the potentials of new, technology based, communities to harm or strengthen social cohesion.
Simon Güntner is a University Professor of Spatial Sociology at the Faculty of Architecture and Spatial Planning at TU Wien. From 2009-2018, he was a professor of Social Sciences and Social Policy at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. His main areas of research are migration, poverty, and urban development. Amongst his recent publications are "Local Matters - how neighbourhoods and services affect the social inclusion and exclusion of young people in European cities" (Güntner, Seukwa, Gehrke and Robinson, 2018) and "Innovation in Social Services" (with Andreas Langer and Johannes Eurich, 2019).