CeDEM14 Keynotes

We were pleased to have and hear the following keynotes:

  • Alexander Gerber on Scientific Citizenship (innocomm Research Center for Science & Innovation Communication, DE)

  • Jeanne Holm on Open Data (Evangelist, Data.gov, U.S. General Services Administration, US)

  • Philipp Müller on Statehood, the Deep Web, and Democracy (Computer Sciences Corporation and Business School of University Salzburg, AT)

  • Mohamed El-Sioufi on (E)ngaging communities through global thinking for local actions (United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT)

Keep on reading for the summaries of their keynotes!

 Alexander Gerber on Scientific Citizenship (Rhine Waal University ; innocomm Research Center for Science & Innovation Communication, DE)

Knowledge creation usually means scholars means trading information, information lay people may often find difficult to understand (never mind access, regardlesss of Open Access). So when we consider scientific citizenship, civic scientific literacy we need to think about science, who the scientists are, and the legitimisation for spending tax-payers‘ money.

The traditional apporach to scientific literacy is very patronising (which tends tob e one-way communication, and focuses on sharing results) – we need to consider the change in mass media, the knowledge held by citizens and how both can play a role in universities, research centres and scientific communication.

Alexander’s Presentation

Video: Keynote Alexander Gerber

Video: Interview with Alexander Gerber

 

Jeanne Holm on Open Data (Evangelist, Data.gov, U.S. General Services Administration, US)

Jeanne Holm pointed out the ongoing changes in the realms of nature, poverty and government that surround us. The amount of data that is produced and circulated daily is growing constantly. Yet a lot of this data is unstructured in most cases, yet this unstructured data creates new ideas that are hard to be filtered out.

A case study that was presented was open government at NASA which was designed from the beginning  as an open organization in 1958. With the growth of technology the dissemination was facing by new legal and technical challenges. The open approach is directly related to the scientific work of NASA, since it invites researchers from all over the world to collaborate in different projects. Each project and research program has its own social media presence to make sure to reach its potential target group. A popular concept is gamification that enables NASA to include a growing number of people in tackling scientific challenges – e.g. „Be a Martian.“

The amount of data that is published by the government is continually  growing, but is not limited to the mere act of publication – there are numerous projects that encourage active citizen engagement. Open government is no longer limited to nation states but becomes more and more international, meaning that different governments use similar technologies and platforms.

Open Data has clear economic advantages for the private sector, e.g. the publication of meteorology data for mapping companies or agricultural businesses. It remains important to empower a growing number of people to gain access to and use open data. Dr. Holm herself is heading a program at the University of California, Los Angeles that uses open data approaches to enable less empowered groups to gain access to higher education.

 

Philipp Müller on Statehood, the Deep Web, and Democracy (Computer Sciences Corporation and Business School of University Salzburg, AT)

Philip Müller presented us a bigger picture of e-governance and its role in society. There are multiple debates dealing with the question of whether the internet can remain unpolitical. Drawing on a recent essay in DER SPIEGEL bei Sascha Lobo, Müller argues that the current state of internet affairs is „newer than new.“ In this situation an old Cold-War question has to be asked anew: How is relation between the structure of the digitally networked world and the actual influence of the individual. A key factor is the interplay of policy (strategy), technology, and architecture. In this triangle, where are we standing today? In the past, we saw several forms of organization like tribes, city states, and the nation state that all reflect a certain constellation of these three factors.

What kind of democracy can be upheld in the age of the internet? Direct democracy, representative democracy or deliberate democracy look different in this new age, with probably the last one being the most fitting for the political aspects in a digitalized world. Society has evolved from the network society to open government into a cloud-society.

Cloud Society is the move from „space of place to space of flows“ (Manuel Castells 1995) – information and data is not geographically fixed but fluid. This changes the space in which we can create and experience society. There are 5 themes around which the contemporary debate can be clustered:

  • Cloud – processes matter
  • Big Data – Bringing together data forces us to rethink how we deal with organizing life and how to find ethical solutions to the possible spread of private information.
  • Mobile/Internet of Things/Evernet
  • Social Media
  • Cybersecurity – relevant for all of the above, especially with regard to flows which plays as much a role as place

Müller concluded with the remark that we know the question but still have to find the answers as technicians, as architects, as political theorists, as philosophers, and as policy makers.

 

Mohamed El-Sioufi on (E)ngaging communities through global thinking for local actions (United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT)

When we hear about „ghost towns“ we need to think beyond the image of the cowboy towns in American films. Ghost towns are the120 million vacant housing which need to be part of new housing strategy. A new participatory housing strategy can use the new social media to identify challenges with key partners, include crowdsourcing, informaton mangagement, knowledge management, and match the responses to the challenges.

Video: Keynote Mohamed El-Sioufi

 Video: Interview with Mohamed El-Sioufi

 

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