Sunday, 29 January 2017

BD&S Editor Evelyn Ruppert speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

BD&S Editor Evelyn Ruppert recently spoke at two events at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. In her talk, ‘Enabling digitally inclusive societies’, she drew on her research on citizen rights and data to discuss how the internet  impacts social cohesion - an increasingly pertinent theme for the WEF, which this year has put digital technology and its impact on economies and societies worldwide at the heart of its programme. Her talk was part of an Ideas Lab session, ‘The Science of Social Cohesion', organized by the European Research Council (ERC). Evelyn joined 8 other ERC grantees as part of a delegation to the WEF led by ERC President Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon.

Referring to her ERC project ARITHMUS, she argued that  fostering citizen engagement in how the internet works and rights to the data that it generates are key to making digital societies inclusive 
rather than divisive and controlling. While expanding access to the internet is usually regarded as an answer to ending a digital divide, she argued it is also necessary to provide openings for people to be not merely users and consumers of the internet, but digital citizens with the power to shape what it should be.  

At another invited session Evelyn joined a panel of business leaders and human rights lawyers to discuss the timely question, ‘What if Privacy Becomes a Luxury Good?’ Organised as a partnership between the WEF and TIME Magazine, the session involved a discussion of the implications of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ for societies. The panel addressed how digital devices are monitoring and compiling personal data and the uneven consequences this has for privacy.  The session was live streamed and can be viewed here.