“Change is the process by which the future invades our lives“

“Change is the process by which the future invades our lives“

For the second time, Editorial Intelligence’s Networking Nations hosted the event “The Human and the Machine” together with the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications in Berlin.

How does humanity live cheek by jowl with technology? Is there one species or two? The advances of the machine age reach incredible and exciting proportions – with some important aspects of it being discussed at “The Human and The Machine” on Thursday, 24th of May 2018 at the Soho House in Berlin. The core topics of the exclusive gathering with more than 90 guests were the co-existence of humans and technology, competition vs. cooperation and privacy matters in the digital age. The four main sessions were accompanied by several cultural show and tells by artists whose work is aligned with the topic of the event.

Julia Hobsbawm (Photo: Philipp Külker)

Machine-made empathy and the end of privacy

With her welcome note, Julia Hobsbawm, author of “Fully Connected: Social Health in an Age of Overload”, said: “It’s true: we have zero privacy.” This disrupting statement was followed by the introductory keynote by the managing director of the Vodafone Institute, Inger Paus. She opened the first session by setting the stage for the upcoming discussions on AI, future technologies and the future of humanity: “We are interested in how society copes with technology – what are their hopes, what are their concerns?”


Cilia Kanellopoulos, Alice Deissner (Photo: Philipp Külker)

Is there a digital gender?

In the second session Cilia Kanellopoulos, Head of Social Innovation and Alice Deissner, Director Strategy and Programs of the Vodafone Institute talked about the role of gender in the debate about the convergence of humanity and technology. Is there a digital gender and how do we define it? Cilia mentioned that in the beginning of technological innovation, several technologies and applications lacked the consideration of women’s needs – and in some areas, this is still the case. To which one of the guests added that: “the whole discourse has to start with education – how do we have to deal with the gender differences in the digital age?”

Karsten Lemm, Gesche Joost, Sepideh Honarbacht, Inger Paus (Photo: Philipp Külker)

Political regulation of Artificial Intelligence

During the third session, one of the most important questions was how AI and algorithms can be and are currently being regulated by the state and politics. Gesche Joost, Professor for Design Research at the Berlin University of the Arts stated that“. In the moment, there is no sufficient ambition in politics to control algorithms, because no one seems to really understand them. Still, we are fighting for it.”



Theresa Züger (Photo: Philipp Külker)

The event that had previously brought together a vast variety of inspiring speakers and artists from several backgrounds showed again that “digital humanity” and cyber security are not only about political regulation. These topics are also about data literacy and digital education. As Dr. Theresa Züger from the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society said: “social impact through technology driven businesses should be focused way more than it currently is”.