Complexity Science meets Digital Humanism


Dec 6, 2022

Complexity Science Hub scientist Fariba Karimi develops a roadmap to connect complexity science research to digital humanism. The goal behind it: putting people back at the center of technological development. The project is funded by WWTF.

 

 

Digitization enables many things: It increases efficiency, can automate processes, or facilitate communication. At the same time, our society is more and more confronted with problematic developments and many of which are accelerating, like social polarization or monopolisation of services.

 

However, it is up to us humans to shape digitalization in such a way that it achieves positive effects. In a new funding competition of the WWTF, companies and research institutions were therefore invited to develop their ideas on Digital Humanism. This underlines the importance of Digital Humanism for Vienna as a science and business location.

 

Align algorithms to the well-being of the whole ecosystem

 

„When we design algorithms and machines to aid us for decision-making processes, we should include human-centric values as one of the objectives, “ Karimi is convinced. Digital Humanism is about a shift away from computer-literate people towards people-literate technology. Besides, the focus is not only on human-centric values, but it should also be aligned with values of interest for nature and animals. In short: The aim of Digital Humanism is to include the well-being of the entire ecosystem when designing algorithms.

 

Getting more people involved

 

Karimi wants to get a clearer picture of how complexity science research can contribute to improvements in the field of Digital Humanism. Over the course of the project, new collaborations will be established, and opportunities will be created. Therefore, it will be important to connect research with industry and other stakeholders to achieve societal impact. At the moment, Karimi would like more complexity science researcher to get involved. “Without a diverse team we can not solve complex and interconnected problems, “ she assures.

 

Pandemic showed importance of complexity science

 

Especially during the last years, one could see the important impact that complexity research can have. “During the pandemic, computational modeling and complexity thinking allowed us to design intervention scenarios that helped society to overcome the pandemic. I think we can do the same in other sectors of society, especially in the digital sector“, Karimi says.


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