During a panel discussion on December 13, national and international scientists reflected the societal role of Computer Science and tried to identify how its radical formative nature can be made more visible to public.
Boundaries of imperfect systems
"Informatics matters because our society relies on it in every step", said Carlo Ghezzi (Politecnico di Milano) during his opening keynote. According to the computer scientist we live in a world where neither industries and health care systems nor transport or communication sectors are able to work without Informatics. „But the infrastructure is still fragile and open to hackers“, Ghezzi said. "There is a need for further research to make these systems less fragile".
Hans Akkermans (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) referred to a severe lack of understanding both in science and society: "Computer Science is no longer about a computer, but about large social and technical systems that expand and change. We simply do not have a good understanding about how they work", Akkermans said.
Making Computer Science more visible
The discussion’s results showed several ways of how to confront the mentioned developments: Scientists need to make the acknowledgements of Computer Science more visible in public. Politicians also need to take further action in school education. In addition, Gerti Kappel, Laura Kovacs as well as Hannes Werthner from TU Wien emphasized the increasing responsibility of universities with regard to their societal and cultural role as well as their ability to self-reflect.