At the end of April, The Digital Society Symposium took place and is one of five theme weeks connected to the 350-year jubilee. The panel held on 27 April discussed what happens to us and our society when we become digital.
Text: Viktor Emanuelsson – Translation: Viktor Jönsson
Five scientists had gathered in an auditorium at Lux to discuss the digital society. Jutta Haider, Hanna Carlsson, Moa Petersén, Robert Willim and Sara Kärrholm are all connected to the section Digital Cultures at the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences. The discussion took place with Mikael Askander as moderator.
Already from the start they encouraged the audience to actively participate and ask questions. They want to have an impartial discussion, and it is noticeable that digital cultures as a field of science are changing.
The discussion is kicked off with the provocative question: what is fact? Are fact rocks waiting to be picked up from the ground or are fact what we mutually agree on and have constructed after certain shared premises?
The panellists did not want to answer questions as much as asking them. Asking new and old questions in a new way. How does digitalisation to our perception of fact?
For obvious reasons, the discussion is clearly academic. Jutta Haider cites a long quote by Hannah Arendt which eerily resonates with our time, and during the discussion everything from Marx to Benedict Andersson, Marshall McLuhan and Plato is referenced.
Owning the rights to facts has become harder and harder because of digitalisation. How institutions such as school and universities are to continue to have legitimacy regarding what is true and not, especially when digital mediums have increased the number of potential versions of the truth, is an important question. It has also been brought to the fore due to the debate regarding student influence, which followed the debate article by Dick Harrison last year (SvD 25/1-2016).
The panel points out that digitalisation and the individualising of source criticism have led to a reevaluation of the relationship between the sender and the receiver of the knowledge and fact. Where is the line drawn between important sources criticism and the idea of questioning everything, including the teacher?
The audience is left with more questions than answers, which probably makes the panel happy.
Seminars are continued throughout Thursday and Friday, and the week is concluded with an open house event and a robot show at Vattenhallen Science Center. The next theme week is Sustainability Week, which takes place 15-20 May.