What will stick around, what’s going to change – and how is it affecting us? Next exit, the future: as part of the “We can WORK it out” topic, #rp18 speaker Ranga Yogeshwar will be bringing “the big picture” to the conference, compressed to fit on a smartphone screen.
It is the aim of every re:publica to enthusiastically and critically dream possible futures, reflect the present and understand technology and culture in a broader, comprehensive context. What direction are the laboratory log books pointing when it comes to topics such as algorithms, artificial intelligence and automation? What is the price tag for our progress in terms of natural resources and social equilibrium? We’ll be entering into a dialogue about just that on the very first day of the #rp18 conference – and discussing all the other big questions (about the future) as well, of course.
That’s quite ambitious content material for an hour-long talk, but we’ve prepared an experimental setup for the occasion. We’re very happy to be able to welcome someone who’s been preparing the floor for a more responsible society. He neither shies away from Saturday evening talk show programming on German public television, nor from the translation of big scientific theories into the television equivalent of a tweet – he takes exactly 145 seconds to break down a topic of interest in the TV show “Wissen vor 8” (Knowledge before 8).
Ranga Yogeshwar is a physicist and one of Germany’s most high-profile scientific journalists who has developed, produced and hosted numerous TV shows. He is also the co-founder of the “Jeder kann programmieren” (Anyone can programme) initiative. In his new book, he aims to elaborate on future scenarios to make them more easily understandable – he reports on a clone factory in South Korea, a rehabilitation and release station on Sumatra, about unground ice caves on Spitzbergen or the destroyed nuclear facilities in Fukushima. He also reminisces about how his Indian grandfather introduced the first mobile library there.
The new book “Next Exit: Future” is dedicated to Ranga Yogeshwar’s close friend, journalist Frank Schirrmacher, who passed away in 2014. It’s a project he would have liked to have undertaken with him. We’re all the more curious about his call for progress in a more reflective manner, as it reflects a posthumous echo of the exchange with the publisher of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
The recent claim that we are currently living through a revolutionary, epoch-making transition seems almost outrages when compared to the clear demarcation lines that separate the Renaissance from the Middle Ages or the force with which modern mass society shook the middle classes. And yet, fundamental decisions will have to be made, not just in terms of digitalisation, but also in other research fields. These days, we are often left with no other tools besides the inspecting of “the new” with old eyes – increasingly with a fear of its growing complexity.
The book trailer, that Yogeshwar edited himself, comes at us in markedly dark tones. But Stage 1 won’t just be all about doom and gloom, but about enlightenment – in the best sense of the word.
Ranga's website: http://yogeshwar.de