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Glitched Paradise: Call for papers: Utopia digital society


Utopias for a digital society. An essay competition

Digital technologies have changed our lives significantly in the last twenty years. With the looming rise of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and data ubiquity, it seems evident that the biggest changes still lie ahead of us. What will the world look like two decades from now? How can society benefit from technology? How will we work, live, love, shape schools and the way we work in 2040?

With our international essay competition twentyforty, we offered scientists a platform for imagining utopias beyond the usual research. The visionary stories address the opportunities and challenges that digital technologies present for society in the future of 2040.

The stories were published in early 2020 and presented at an interactive multimedia exhibition in Berlin from 2-15 July. Furthermore, some of the authors to shared their writing experiences, impressions and learnings in the context of our twentyforty talks.

Twentyforty: Creative Writing on the floor
Twentyforty: People at tables working
Twentyforty: Creative writing techniques: Painting
Twentyforty: The team
Twentyforty: Hammocks among the trees

Impressions from the essay sprint

Twelve scientists were chosen by our project team and accepted our invitation to follow us into Berlins sorrounding countryside to work on their essays together. All of them brought their visions of digital utopias as well as their different scientific backgrounds, their expertise and their research interests to Bad Belzig in Brandenburg. In Coconat, a hybrid between holiday retreat and coworking space, they worked on their stories by engaging in creative thinking puzzles, in mentoring by a professional storyteller as well as individual writing lessons and workshops regarding writing flow and story structures.


Researchers and thinkers were invited to submit their visions along five categories.


 Here you can explore the illustrations made at the Long Night of the Sciences 2019 at HIIG, revealing how our visitors imagine the year 2040 – when asked how we will learn, love, live, work and rule. Click on the drawings for the full version.


How will we learn in the future? How will we teach? What will schools and universities look like?


How will we get to know people? How will we stay in touch? What will parenting, relationships and love affairs look like?


How will we stay healthy and what will we eat? What will our homes look like? How will we communicate?


How will we work in the future? Where will we work? What will factories, offices and jobs look like?


How will states interact in the international arena? How will conflicts be resolved in the future?

We thank all authors for participating in the essay competition!


Download the publication


Nataliia Sokolovska

Head of Research Programme: Knowledge & Society