Vienna Manifesto on Digital Humanism

Vienna Workshop on Digital Humanism

We are in the midst of the digital transformation of our society, with computer science and its artifacts as a major driver of change. We experienced the metamorphosis from the stand-alone computer to the global operating system of our world, a journey leading to yet another industrial revolution: digitizing everything and automating work and thinking. This digital and global operating system integrates, links, and permeates everything: work, leisure, politics, the personal, the professional, and the private. It influences or even shapes actions on a technical, economic, military and political level.

Whereas this development opens enormous possibilities for our future, it also raises serious questions and has dramatic downsides, just think at the monopolies in the Web, or the use of the Internet for surveillance. This is also expressed by Tim Berners-Lee (The Guardian, 16 November 2017) with his 

“The system is failing”

We are at a crossroad for our future, and the issue is which direction to take, or in positive terms, how to put the human at the center and how to combine technological with social innovation in a democratic process. 

This is the context of our Workshop on Digital Humanism.

With this term we want to refer to the era of the Renaissance, not only to make the digital world and development more “human”, but also to initiate a broad approach integrating different disciplines for new scientific insights, discussions, and spreading of critical thoughts and knowledge. Such an approach starts from several key points:

  1. ICT forms a critical building block for our society; it facilitates and drives change, but it also needs rules and guidance. 
  2. To understand, to reflect, and to influence this development, we need a multi and interdisciplinary approach, looking at the individual and the society. 
  3. It is a global international issue.
  4. The approach needs to be scientific, in the tradition of the enlightenment – and fact based in the best sense. 
  5. People are the central focus. Technology is for people and not the other way round. We need to put “humankind” at the center of our work.

The format of the workshop will be very interactive, we invite all the participants to an active discussion. 

Organized by

Faculty of Informatics – TU Wien
Municipal Department 23 – Economic Affairs, Labour and Statistics
WWTF – Vienna Science and Technology Fund