Helen Margetts, professor at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, UK, held her talk as one of the keynote speakers at the Herrenhausen Conference "Society through the Lens of the Digital" which took place from May 31 till June 2, 2017, in Hanover. At the conference, the experts discussed how the humanities and social sciences deal with the social challenges of digitization. The introductory words are held by Florian Süssenguth, acatech, Germany.

The Herrenhausen Conference "Society through the Lens of the Digital" explored the role of the social sciences and the humanities in a society saturated with debates on the effects of digitization: Parties, NGOs and the public sphere explore ideas of digital democracy. Luminaries of business try to map and unlock the potential of big data and of platform capitalism. Data journalists experiment with modes of describing the world not through linear texts but through algorithms and interactive visualizations while intelligent systems have to learn to navigate the often-ambiguous rules and structures of society. We're lacking scientific approaches to this multiplicity of discourses on digitization, which allow us to adequately explore its implications for research, research policy and the public role of the social sciences and humanities. The Herrenhausen Conference "Society through the Lens of the Digital" aimed to fill this gap.

As a forum for debate between scholars and experts from civil society, politics, economy and journalism the conference tackled questions such as: What role should the social sciences and the humanities play in the digitization of society? Which kind of answers are they expected to provide? How can they better fulfil their role as mediators and translators between the conflicting and sometimes even incommensurable perspectives on digital change? The discussion of theoretical, methodological and empirical tools thus was not only aimed at the further development of concepts and theories within the social sciences and humanities. Equally important was the question of how they can help the social sciences and humanities to open up to collaboration with the STEM fields and to help solve the grand challenges of

Herrenhausen Conference "Society through the Lens of the Digital"
May 31 - June 2, 2017, Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, Germany


Prof. Dr. Armin Nassehi, University of Munich, Germany,
Florian Süssenguth, acatech, Germany,
Dr. Cornelius Puschmann, Hans-Bredow-Institute Hamburg, Germany

Conference Topics at a Glance

- Society through the Lens of the Digital - from Observation to Theory
- Radical Democracy or the Liquefication of all Collectivities? - The Political Teleologies of Digital Media
- Updating Social Criticism: Digital Capitalism and Digital Labour
- Society through the Eyes of Robots, Algorithms and AI
- Sources of Knowledge and Uncertainty: Coping with Digital Information Overload in Science and Business
- Identity in Times of Algorithms - Quantified Self and Gamification
- Observing the Digital World Society within Local Contexts
- Observing the World through Hermeneutics or through Algorithms? Data Journalism and Data Visualisation
- Implications of Changing Modes of Communication and Participation for Research and Research Policy
- Lightning Talks

Foto: David Carreno Hansen für VolkswagenStiftung