Digital Humanism

Submitted by webmaster on Fri, 11/22/2019 - 15:57
Course No: 
Course Type: 
Weekly Hours: 
Hannes Werthner
Peter Knees
Julia Neidhardt
Mete Sertkan

The lecture consists of two parts:
a)      Internationally renowned experts will give presentation on the topic (3-4 colleagues)
b)     Students in groups (size 3 – 5) will work on specific subconcepts and / or dimensions of digital humanism. In interactive session they will present their intermediate and final results.
The LV starts with two “classical” lectures, then students work on their projects. There will be two intermediate presentations of the group works, and a final one day seminar.
In parallel, there will be four public presentations of internationally renowned academics and experts (supported by the Vienna Science and Technology Fund WWTF):
6 November, 5.00 P.M. (EI 9 Hlawka HS):Susan J. Winter, Associate Dean for Research and Co-Director of the Center for Advanced Study of Communities and Information at the University of Maryland, College of Information Studies, Title of the talk: "Cui bono? A Sociotechnical View of Smart Cities"
20 November, 5.00 P.M. (EI 3 Sahulka HS):Gerfried Stocker, Artistic Director of Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria. Title of the talk: "Humanizing Technology through Arts".
18 December, 5.00 P.M. (EI 3 Sahulka HS):Edward A. Lee, Professor of the Graduate School Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley. Title of the talk: "The Coevolution of Humans and Machines"
8 January 2020, 5.00 P.M. (FH 8 Nöbauer HS):Julian Nida-Rümelin, Professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Chair of Philosophy and Political Theory and former German State Minister for Culture, Title of the talk: "Digitaler Humanismus".
Susan J. Winter: "Cui bono? A Sociotechnical View of Smart Cities"
Abstract: Technologies that were a fantasy decades ago, such as AI and mobile devices, are now integral to the way we live, work, and interact with our environment. This has brought remarkable new capabilities to all sectors of the economy and fueled calls for the transformation of urban living through Smart Cities. The professionals who are develop and deploy these technologies are held to ethical standards to contribute to society and human well-being, but many Smart Cities efforts fail to benefit those residents who are most in need. A sociotechnical view of cities clarifies the ethical dilemmas created by smart cities, identifies challenges that must be overcome, and illuminates a path toward ensuring that everyone benefits.
Short CV: My research focuses on technology and the organization of work especially the social and organizational challenges of data reuse and collaboration among information workers and scientists acting within highly institutionalized sociotechnical systems.  My work has been supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. I was previously a Science Advisor in the Directorate for Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences, a Program Director, and Acting Deputy Director of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure at the National Science Foundation supporting distributed, interdisciplinary scientific collaboration for complex data-driven and computational science.   I received my PhD from the University of Arizona, my MA from the Claremont Graduate University, and my BA from the University of California, Berkeley.  
Gerfried Stocker: "Humanizing Technology through Arts"
Abstract: Where are we and how did we get here? What kind of digital society do we want? How can we get there? And how can we make good on the biggest mistake of the last forty years: How can we wrest control of our futures from a handful of corporations that make billions in profits. It's time for us to resign our roles as mere consumers and data-generating machines. We must take responsibility for our futures. Europe is set to play a key role in this process.  How should Europe respond to the "data capitalism" of the IT monopolists and the "data totalitarianism" of authoritarian regimes? Or, in other words: Is it possible to create a digital society that fosters competition and generates value while also reflecting European values? With the success of new services increasingly depending on the credibility of their providers and the trust placed in them by users, there is good reason to believe that this vision could be made reality. In light of this, a large number of EU projects and initiatives have embraced the goal of expanding the roles of art, creativity, and education in the development of technology in order to develop new concepts and alternative options for action. Gerfried Stocker will talk about such projects which have been also shown at this year´s Ars Electronica Festival in Linz.
Short CV: Gerfried Stocker (AT) is a media artist and an electronic engineer. Since 1995 he has been a managing and an artistic director of Ars Electronica. 1995/1996 he developed the groundbreaking exhibition strategies of Ars Electronica Center with a small team of artists and technicians and was responsible for the set-up and establishment of Ars Electronica’s own R&D facility, Ars Electronica Futurelab. Since 2004 he has been in charge of developing Ars Electronica’s program of international exhibition tours. From 2005 on he planned the expansion of Ars Electronica Center and implemented the total substantive makeover of its exhibits. Stocker is a guest speaker at many international conferences and a Visiting Professor at Osaka University of Arts as well as guest lecturer at Deusto University Bilbao. He is also a consultant for many international companies on creativity and innovation management.
Edward A. Lee: "The Coevolution of Humans and Machines"
Abstract: Are humans defining technology, or is technology defining humans? Richard Dawkins famously said that a chicken is an egg’s way of making another egg. Is a human a computer’s way of making another computer? Certainly, digital technology has changed the way we interact with one another, the way we work, and even the way we think. The machines serve as intellectual prostheses, helping us with arithmetic, spelling, and remembering (while also subtly manipulating our thoughts, directing us to click on ads or vote a certain way). Should the software systems that have taken over so much of our lives be viewed as living beings, defined by bits rather than DNA? In this talk, Edward Ashford Lee presents the case for considering digital beings to be living, then offers counterarguments. What we humans do with our minds is more than computation, and what digital systems do—be teleported at the speed of light, backed up, and restored—may never be possible for humans. To believe that we are simply computations, he argues, is a "dataist" faith and scientifically indefensible. Digital beings depend on humans—and humans depend on digital beings. More likely than a planetary wipe-out of humanity is an ongoing, symbiotic coevolution of culture and technology.
Short CV: Edward A. Lee has been working on embedded software systems for 40 years, and after detours through Yale, MIT, and Bell Labs, landed at Berkeley, where he is now Professor of the Graduate School in EECS. His research is focused on cyber-physical systems. He is author of leading textbooks on embedded systems and digital communications, and has recently been writing books on philosophical and social implications of technology.
Julian Nida-Rümelin: "Digitaler Humanismus"
Abstract: Möglicherweise wird man in einer fernen Zukunft auf die Menschheitsgeschichte zurückblicken und von drei großen disruptiven technologischen Innovationen sprechen. Der Übergang von der Jäger- und Sammlerkultur zur sesshaften Agrarkultur mit Ackerbau und Viehzucht in der Jungsteinzeit, der Übergang zum Maschinenzeitalter auf der Grundlage fossiler Energieträger im 19. Jahrhundert und schließlich die digitale Revolution des 21. Jahnhunderts: die Nutzung künstlicher Intelligenz. Sollte dies einmal so sein, dann stehen wir heute erst am Anfang einer technologischen Revolution, ähnlich wie Europa in den ersten Jahrzehnten des 19 Jahrhunderts. Und so wie damals sind die technologischen Erneuerungen auch heute von apokalyptischen Ängsten, aber auch euphorischen Erwartungen begleitet. Der digitalen Humanismus setzt hier einen Kontrapunkt. Er setzt sich von den Apokalyptikern ab, weil er der menschlichen Vernunft vertraut und es setzt sich von den Euphorikern ab, weil er die Grenzen digitaler Technik achtet. Der digitale Humanismus transformiert den Menschen nicht in eine Maschine und interpretiert Maschinen nicht als Menschen. Er plädiert für eine instrumentelle Haltung gegenüber der Digitalisierung. Der digitale Humanismus ist nicht defensiv, er möchte den technischen Fortschritt im Zeitalter der Künstlichen Intelligenz nicht bremsen, sondern fördern, er spricht sich für eine Beschleunigung des menschlichen Fortschritts unter Einsatz der digitalen Möglichkeiten aus, um unser Leben reichhaltiger, effizienter und nachhaltiger zu machen. Er träumt jedoch nicht von einer ganz neuen, menschlichen Existenzform, wie die Transhumanisten, ist aber optimistisch, was die menschliche Gestaltungskraft der digitalen Potentiale angeht.Short CV: Julian Nida-Rümelin studierte Philosophie, Physik, Mathematik und Politikwissenschaft in München und Tübingen. Für fünf Jahre (1998-2002) wechselte JNR in die Kulturpolitik, zunächst als Kulturreferent der Landeshauptstadt München und dann als Kulturstaatsminister im ersten Kabinett Schröder. 2002 übernahm er einen Lehrstuhl für Philosophie an der Universität Göttingen. Seit 2004 lehrt er Philosophie und politische Theorie an der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. 2016 wurde ihm die Europa-Medaille der Bayerischen Staatsregierung verliehen, 2019 erhielt er den Bayerischen Verdienstorden. Er leitet seit 2017 den Bereich Kultur des neu eingerichteten Zentrum Digitalisierung Bayern (ZD.B) und ist seit 2018 Gründungsmitglied des Direktoriums des Bayerischen Forschungszentrum für digitale Transformation (bidt). 2018 erschien bei Piper ein Plädoyer für einen Digitalen Humanismus.----
Precondition for participation, you must satisfy all three (!):
a) Master student, b) registration in the course, c) on Wednesday, 9 October at 4.00 P.M.
The second session takes place on 23 October 2019 (assignment of topics)!
Questions please to questions[at]
All necessary information and course material can be found in the corresponding TUWEL course.
ECTS breakdown (in hours): 3 ECTS = 75 hours
Preliminary discussion: 2 hLectures: 4 hLecture room / presentations: 4 hFinal presentations day: 8 hPresentation of international experts: 6 hDeveloping first idea: 10 hPreparing intermediate presentation: 10 hContent work: 16 hFinal report: 15 hSum approximately: 75 h


For information on the topic see


<p>The students have to provide a final presentation and report. The topics for the presentations will be assigned in the session of 23 October.</p>
<p>Attention, mandatory attendance at lectures and presentation sessions and at the preliminary discussion on Wednesday, 9 October at 4.00 P.M.!</p>


Precondition for participation, you must satisfy all three (!):
a) Master student, b) registration in the course, c) attendance in the preliminary discussion on Wednesday, 9 October at 4.00 P.M.