The Digital Humanism Initiative in Vienna

Author(s)
Katja Mayer, Michael Strassnig
Abstract

The main objective of this paper is to introduce and summarise an exploratory study (Mayer, Stampfer, Strassnig & Zingerle, 2019) commissioned by the City of Vienna in 2018 to map activities for the creation of a new vision and framework for a city’s digital transformation strategy, and in particular to propose a programme and instruments for implementation at the crossroads of science and society. The Vienna City Administration aims to actively shape this strategy in line with the city’s humanistic tradition. Digital Humanism was developed as a guiding vision to offer alternatives to technocratic concepts of digitalisation. It aims to address many concerns, negative effects and challenges arising in transformative digitalisation processes such as accelerated monopolisation of data and services, complete transparency of people and their behaviour (not only direct users) and losing grounds in the creation of digital commons, while at the same time procedures of the private sector remain secret, social polarisation in social media is further fuelled, advertising tech is neglecting regulations, and surveillance by governments and notions of responsibility, objectivity or neutrality are increasingly delegated to automated decision-making processes. Our 2019 study aimed to lay ground on already existing initiatives countering these trends in Vienna. We explored, which subject areas and actors could support and enrich the concept of Digital Humanism in Vienna. To generate relevant insights for policy advice, we drew on interviews with experts and stakeholders and followed selected communities of practice to learn from key actors and to identify challenges and priorities. In the following we will fi rst outline the conceptual development of Digital Humanism as guiding principle for the digital transformation of Vienna, explain the methodological approach and fi nally summarise the results of the study. We identified many actors from research, business and civil society and mapped fi elds of action such as digital justice and netpolitics, data science, artifi cial intelligence, security and surveillance studies, and digital literacy to name but a few. These domains and their experts will co-shape the coming priorities for digital economy, education and work in the digital age, democracy and participation, data protection and security, cultural heritage, eHealth and (social) media and the public sphere.

Organisation(s)
Department of Science and Technology Studies, Research Platform Governance of digital practices
Volume
9
DOI
https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4250144
Publication date
10-2020
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
509017 Social studies of science, 509025 Technology studies, 506017 Science and technology policy
Keywords
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/the-digital-humanism-initiative-in-vienna(e0b62c9f-353f-476b-a136-ec6468bc1ef4).html