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Media Library Event Report Committees Telecommunications, Internet & Media

TIM Night Talk: "Is Digitization Evil?"

Speakers: Prof. Dr. Harald Welzer from the University of Flensburg and Frank Schmiechen of GRÜNDERSZENE

On July 10, AmCham Germany's Telecommunications, Internet, and Media (TIM) Committee organized a Night Talk with Prof. Dr. Harald Welzer, Direktor Futurzwei - Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit and Professor für Transformationsdesign der Universität Flensburg, and Frank Schmiechen, Chefredakteur GRÜNDERSZENE, to discuss whether digitization is evil.

The lively debate was moderated by Benjamin Brake, Director Government and Regulatory Affairs IBM DACH, and focused on the effects of digitization. Prof. Dr. Welzer depicted a rather critical view of the topic, describing digitization as an attack on our freedom and raised the question of how societies change when there is no clear separation of public and private spheres. Frank Schmiechen, on the other hand, highlighted the democratizing and liberating elements and chances digitization can have for society; for example, participation in political processes can be increased and public discourse strengthened.

On the issue of the future of work, Frank Schmiechen stressed the fact that, while changes will definitely affect people, not all current jobs are "good" jobs and may not be worth preserving. Prof. Dr. Welzer, however, noted that the value of work is embedded in today's society and worried that the loss of work may cause societies to collapse.

At the end, the panelists agreed that a dialogue on the effects of digitization is indispensable and has so far not been adequately included in political programs and discourse. Some of the questions that need to be addressed by political stakeholders include: How is digitization changing political processes? How do social networks influence decision making? And how is the available quantity and quality of data used and what are the effects for societies?

Members of AmCham Germany's TIM Committee and guests continued the discussion at the reception which followed. We would like to thank IBM Deutschland for generously hosting the Night Talk at Aperto - An IBM Company in Berlin Mitte and Benjamin Brake and his team for their cooperation in organizing this event.

Relevant Links:

Telecommunications, Internet and Media (TIM) Committee

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