Paradise glitch essay competition banner

Our digital society in 2040

16 January 2019

The essay competition “twentyforty – Utopias for a digital society” invites researchers worldwide to describe their visions of a digital society in 20 years from now.

Berlin, 16 January 2019 – How will we decide, live and love in 2040? How will we shape education and the way we work in the future? The European Hub in the Global Network of Internet Society Research Centers (NoC) and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) are launching today the international essay competition “twentyforty – Utopias for a digital society” on what society will look like in two decades. Until 4 March 2019, scientists from all disciplines can submit their utopias of the digital society in the form of a short abstract in the five sub-areas of learning, loving, living, working and ruling.

“Most of the time, scientists are reticent about their visions of the future. With the essay competition, we would like to offer them a platform for imagining utopias beyond the usual analyses. The contributions should address the societal opportunities and challenges arising from the use of digital technologies.” says Dr. Benedikt Fecher, initiator of the competition and research programme director at HIIG. The competition is aimed in particular at the international expertise in the field of Internet and social research that the NoC has been supporting for seven years. “We encourage researchers worldwide to write down their utopias in essays,” explains Fecher. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulz, Director of the HIIG, emphasises: “With this competition we would like to venture a look into the future in this important subject area. At the same time, we hope that it will give us new impetus on how we want to shape our society. Especially the perspectives from different countries can give new impulses.”

In May 2019, the authors of the selected contributions will be invited for an essay sprint in Berlin, where they can finalise their essays under the guidance of storytelling experts. “All the essays will then be widely published and will hopefully inspire many to think about how we can shape our society”, explains Fecher.

Further information:

Call for abstracts: hiig.de/twentyforty

Press contact: Florian Lüdtke | phone: +49 30 200 760 82 | presse@hiig.de

About the Network of Centers

The Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers (NoC) was launched by a group of academic centers – including the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) – in 2012 in recognition of the lack of internationally coordinated research and engagement activities in issues concerning the Internet and related technologies. The NoC is a collaborative initiative between academic institutions with a focus on interdisciplinary research on the development, social impact, policy implications, and legal issues concerning the Internet. This collective aims to increase interoperability between participating centers in order to stimulate the creation of new cross-national, cross-disciplinary conversation, debate, teaching, learning, and engagement regarding the most pressing questions around new technologies, social change, and related policy and regulatory developments. More information can be found at http://networkofcenters.net/about.

Within the NoC, the European Hub was founded in 2017 with the aim of strengthening European Internet research at the international level. The network currently consists of 26 research institutes in 15 countries. The current lead of the European Hub is the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG).

About the HIIG

The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) researches the development of the internet from a societal perspective. The aim is to better understand the digitalisation of all spheres of life. As the first research institute in Germany to focus on on internet and society, HIIG has established an understanding that emphasises the embeddedness of digital innovations in societal processes. As node in the Global Network of Interdisciplinary Internet & Society Research Centers, an initiative of scientific institutions worldwide in the field of interdisciplinary research on internet and society, the institute is trying to develop a European perspective on digital transformation.

The HIIG was founded in 2011 by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the University of the Arts Berlin and the Social Science Research Center Berlin, in alliance with the Hans-Bredow Institute for Media Research in Hamburg as an integrated co-operation partner. The research directors of the institute are Prof. Dr. Jeanette Hofmann, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ingolf Pernice, Prof. Dr. Björn Scheuermann, Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Schildhauer and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulz.

Florian Lüdtke

Coordinator Science communication and press

News from the institute

this way to the pressroom

About HIIG

The HIIG researches the development of the internet from a societal perspective with the aim to better understand the digitalisation of all spheres of life.

Press distribution letter

Sign up for HIIG's press release mailing list.

Downloads and Media

Looking for press pictures, our research agenda or reports of our activities?
More here