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 will be published at the beginning of 2020.

What will the world look like two decades from now? How will we work, live, love, learn in twentyforty? Visit our Exhibition from 2nd - 15th July 2020

twentyforty - Utopias for a Digital Society

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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 and we are looking forward to share their utopian stories of our digital society in 2040. 


Nataliia Sokolovska (on parental leave)

Researcher and project manager: Knowledge & Society