| DigiSem | DigiSem 2024 | Digital Freedom – Autonomy, Wellbeing and Participation
14. Oktober 2024 - 15. Oktober 2024

DigiSem 2024 | Digital Freedom – Autonomy, Wellbeing and Participation

The Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt), the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS), Leibniz Institute for Media Research – Hans Bredow Institute (HBI) and the Weizenbaum Institute (WI) invite doctoral and postdoctoral researchers to present their work at the joint Digitalisation Research Seminar – DigiSem.

DigiSem is a bi-annual workshop for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, organised by bidt, CAIS, HBI and WI. The workshop will include a keynote by a renowned expert, multiple sessions on specific aspects of the workshop’s overarching theme. The seminar provides a platform for discussing project ideas, research results, feasibility studies, and/or pilots for product/app development.

The second edition of DigiSem focuses on a pressing subject that has also been selected as topic of the Science Year 2024: Freedom. It takes into focus what digital freedom means and what impact this may have on our lives with respect to more or less autonomy, well-being and possibilities to participate in public life.

The keynote at DigiSem 2024 will reflect on the topic of ‘Freedom and digitalisation’. It will be delivered by Prof. Dr. Sebastian Weydner-Volkmann who is Junior Professor for Ethics of Digital Methods and Technologies at the Institute for Philosophy I, Ruhr University Bochum. He is a Principal Investigator in the graduate academy SecHuman on cyber security and – among others – has worked on the ethical
implications of passenger controls and data-based profiling.

We invite submissions addressing one of the three main topic-areas. In your abstracts, please also share your thoughts on one of the postulated statements, as we are encouraging an open discussion including participants’ own experiences and opinions.

Topic 1: Autonomy
How autonomous are we, or do we want to be, in dealing with data and technologies? What choices do individuals, companies and institutions have in the face of BigTech players? Is more security in the digital world bound to trade-off with individual freedom? Regarding freedom of research in particular – ff will artificial intelligence increase our freedom to use and leverage data, tools and networks? Or will their costs and access restrictions have an inhibiting effect on research or benefit only a small subset of researchers?

Statement 1: The more autonomy the better.
Statement 2: Digital autonomy fosters freedom of research.

Topic 2: Wellbeing
Do we have more freedom (e.g. for other activities, leisure time, empowerment) through digital solutions/AI in the world of work and private life – or less? How do we measure digital freedom in terms of wellbeing or happiness? Do we still have the choice to live an analogue/digital autonomous life?

Statement 1: Digital freedom enhances our personal well-being.
Statement 2: Digitalisation saves time.

Topic 3: Participation
Which means do we have to shape digital infrastructures through active participation? How can civil society’s role as active, self-determined power be supported in different political systems and market contexts? What impact does (a) restricted access to media and technologies have on democratic processes and opinion forming/building, either on a local or on an international scale? Is free access to digital space for everyone a goal that can and should be achieved?

Statement 1: Digitalisation promotes democratisation.
Statement 2: Participation should not require digital access.

How to apply
Submissions should present research that relates to one of the main topics and reflects on one of the postulated statements. Inter- and transdisciplinary work is particularly encouraged. Please submit an abstract of max. 500 words via EasyChair by 10 July 2024. You will be notified regarding participation by 15 August 2024. A link for registration will follow.