What can sci-fi teach us about digital politics and its future?
What was once considered science fiction is becoming a reality at an accelerated pace. What can sci-fi teach us about the future of digital politics? Can it inform better policies? If so, how?
What can sci-fi teach us about digital politics and its future? is part of the series Geneva Digital Talks. With this event, we want bring two very different constituencies together: Sci-fi authors and sci-fi enthusiasts on the one side, and policy makers, diplomats, and international relations professionals dealing with digital politics on the other. What discussions emerge and what lessons can be learned at the intersection of the two? What happens when science fiction and policy meet?
This event will create a safe and fertile place for thought experiments by social scientists, policy makers, and diplomats – inspired by the imagination of sci-fi authors and by the meeting of different professional cultures and mind-sets. It will allow us to take a moment in our busy lives for thinking through technological developments and their impact on the way we work, live, and organise our world.
Sci-fi can be escapist or critical about our potential future, often in reaction to our present reality. It can provide dystopian or utopian visions of what is to come, but also, many alternative universes in between. Which of these universes becomes our reality will depend on our collective human agency, including our digital policy and its governance. Like with the butterfly-effect, the measures that we take, or not take, right now, will steer our common destiny in the direction of one of these potential futures.
What? Exploring topics of critical importance in a highly interactive setting:
Introductory remarks by Prof Jovan Kurbalija (Executive Director and Co-Lead UN SG High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation) and Ambassador Farukh Amil (Permanent Representative of Pakistan)
Concluding thoughts on ‘Hang all the fortune-tellers’ by Cory Doctorow (science fiction author and digital rights activist)
Topics and contributors in detail:
‘Designing fiction: domesticating the science’ (James Auger, Professor in design at RMIT Europe)
Augmented Corporation (Dejan Dinčić, Digital Transformation and Online Learning Specialist)
The sci-fi take on robots and the future of work (Richard Hill, President, Association for Proper Internet Governance) - Further material can be found here and here.
Expanding the limits of our knowledge through sci-fi (Katharina Höne, Researcher and lecturer diplomacy and digital politics, DiploFoundation)
Hello, Dave. The sci-fi take on artificial intelligence (Djordje Jančić, Head of Data Team, DiploFoundation)
To ‘science-fiction’ policy or to not ‘science-fiction’ policy? (Dimitri Konstantas, Professor, University of Geneva)
Science fiction as a tool for critique and (improving?) policy: What can we learn from Afrofuturism? (Darija Medić, Digital Art Project Coordinator, DiploFoundation)
In preparation for the event, we have put together a curated reading list. The list serves as inspiration and to extend the discussion. You will find some of the classics written by authors like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Philip K Dick, William Gibson, Ursula Le Guin, and Neal Stephenson. You will also find a younger generation of authors including Ted Chiang, Cory Doctorow, and Liu Cixin. We have also included a list of interviews and reflections on sci-fi by authors such as Octavia E Butler, Ursula Le Guin, Donna Haraway, and Ytasha Womack.
Digital Transformation and Online Learning Specialist
Mr Dejan Dinčić Digital Transformation and Online Learning Specialist
Mr Dejan Dinčić is a digital transformation and online learning specialist, based in Geneva. Formerly technical director of DiploFoundation, he now teaches and provides strategic advice for Diplo. Since 2016 he has also worked as a consultant for international organisations, development NGOs, and UN agencies. He is a sought-after trainer and facilitator who brings topic knowledge, technical expertise, and effective training methodologies to events and workshops.
With professional and academic background in online and distance education, and information technologies, Dejan has more than twenty years of experience in the private, public, and non-profit sectors, and in academia. His major research interests include digital transformation and knowledge management.
Dr Katharina (Kat) E Höne researches, writes, and teaches on a number of issues in the area of diplomacy, global governance, and the impact of technology on international relations. Over the last years, she has focused on research at the intersection of diplomacy and technology. She was part of a research project on Data Diplomacy: Updating diplomacy to the big data eraand the lead researcher and author of Mapping the challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence for the conduct of diplomacy report, both supported by the Ministry for Foreign of Affairs of Finland. In addition, she has more than 10 years of experience in teaching international relations at universities in the UK and Germany, and in delivering in-situ, blended, and online training to diplomatic practitioners. Kat holds an MA in Diplomatic Studies (University of Leicester, UK) and a PhD in International Politics (University of Aberystwyth, UK). In her work, she is driven by her aim to level the playing field at international negotiation tables through capacity development, and to provide out-of-the-box thinking and inspiration by drawing on her passion for science-fiction.
Mr Djordje Jančić is the Head of the Data Team at DiploFoundation. Djordje initially worked for Diplo as a consultant and became a full time team member in 2018.
Djordje is an Internet marketing specialist, lecturer and owner of the Holistic Web Marketing agency, with more than 10 years of hands-on experience in Internet marketing (SEO, PPC advertising, content creation, social media management), data analysis and project management. Besides having a degree in Public Relations, Djordje is a certified Google Ads specialist and a regular lecturer at the Internet Academy in Belgrade.
His other skills include copy-writing, website development and data science, which has recently become his primary focus of activity.
In his free time, Djordje is passionate about origami, SF literature and hiking.
Web and Software Programmer, Digital Art Project Coordinator
Ms Darija Medić Web and Software Programmer, Digital Art Project Coordinator
Currently based in Belgrade, Serbia, Ms Darija Medić is a digital practitioner, artist, and researcher, working in the fields of media art and design, web development, critical writing, curating, and production. Since 2012, she has been a core member of Interkultivator, an organisation that focuses on the decentralisation of gender and cultural production in Serbia through creating experimental educational platforms with a focus on technology (such as Technology for beginHers). Since 2015. she has been a project manager at Napon – Institute of Flexible Cultures and Technologies.
Darija graduated in 2011 from the Networked Media department at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, Netherlands with a Master’s in Design, and in 2009 from the New Media Department of the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Serbia, with a Bachelor’s in New Media Arts.