Understanding the impact of digital technology
What kinds of digital technologies will emerge in the next 50 years? How can we better understand the impacts of these technologies on society? Is the digital revolution producing a new divide between the arts and sciences?
These were some of the questions being discussed at the sixth Sussex Conversation - on Digital and Social Media - which took place at the Royal Institution on Thursday (24 May).
Chaired by Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts, the panel included
- Professor Helga Nowotny, President of the European Research Council,
- Jodi Dean, Professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, New York, and
- Tom Rodden, Professor of Interactive Systems at the Mixed Reality Laboratory at the University of Nottingham.
From Sussex, the respondents in the discussion were
- Dr Caroline Bassett, Reader in Digital Media and leader of the Digital and Social Media research theme,
- Dr Dan Chalmers, Senior Lecturer in Informatics, and
- Professor Sally-Jane Norman, Professor of Performance Technologies and Director of the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts.
This conversation brought together these computer scientists, communications, media and cultural theorists, sociologists and artists to explore a range of ideas, including whether the old divide between the 'two cultures' of art and science is now re-inscribed in digital terms.
Another full house at the Royal Institution joined in the debate, with questions and comments from those present as well as via Twitter from those watching online.
The conversation was filmed by a team of Sussex multi-media students, supervised by Dr Phil Watten from Informatics, and broadcast live on the Sussex web. The recording will be available shortly to watch again, along with the previous five events, at www.sussex.ac.uk/fiftyyears/sussexconversations
Professor Michael Farthing, who introduced the event, said: “This conversation demonstrated once again how Sussex, with a strong interdisciplinary base and research that takes a critical and questioning approach, is ideally placed to address the complex issues facing society today.”
The Vice-Chancellor also stressed that this is not just a one-off set of events for the anniversary year: “I am keen to ensure that the expertise that Sussex has shown in bringing these kind of debates together and producing high-quality live broadcasting continues to be used in the future to extend the way in which we provide excellent education.”
All six Sussex Conversations can be viewed online on the 50th anniversary web pages. For further information, see www.sussex.ac.uk/fiftyyears/sussexconversations