#rp22 Speaker Dirk Brockmann: Complexity and Collaboration

28.03.2022 - The professor at HU Berlin and scientist at Robert Koch Institute is an expert on complex systems and leads the "Corona Data Donation" project in the fight against Covid-19.
Porträtfoto von re:publica-Sprecher Dirk Brockmann

Dirk Brockmann is a physicist and complexity scientist known, among other things, for his work on complex systems, complex networks, computational epidemiology, human mobility and the spread and dynamics of infectious diseases. 
As head of the "Corona Datenspende" project ("Corona Data Donation"), he initiated the world's largest data donation project to date. With the help of these data donations, the app calculates a fever curve for Germany which can indirectly help to estimate the number of COVID-19 cases and, for example, make the emergence of new COVID-19 "hot spots" visible.

In his 2021 book "Im Wald vor lauter Bäumen" ("In the forest for the trees"), Dirk Brockmann deals with complex phenomena such as pandemics, the climate crisis and the destabilisation of ecosystems looking for patterns, regularities and similarities. 

For updates on his projects, visit his website or follow him on Twitter.

3 Questions for... Dirk Brockmann

We have asked Dirk Brockmann three questions about his appearance at re:publica 22.

What topic will you be talking about at #rp22?
There are two topics that might be interesting for the audience:

  1. Complexity: An anti-disciplinary perspective on nature and society... This is also the theme of the book I published last year ("Im Wald vor lauter Bäumen").
  2. Data donation and participatory research. This is a controversial topic. In the wake of the Corona crisis, we launched the “Corona Data Donation” project in which more than half a million people donated data from their fitness wristbands. This is highly sensitive, personal data, and we gained very important insights from it—e.g. regarding "Long-Covid", pandemic-related depression, etc. I dream of creating a participatory platform in which such data donations can work, but which are neither in the hands of monopolistic corporations, nor are they state-owned. In other words, a decentralised collaboration platform between science and society—on a non-profit basis.

What have you missed out on in the past two years and think is in urgent need of a reboot? 
I think discourse needs a reboot. As a society, we are in a kind of collective social epileptic seizure, suffering socially from a kind of autoimmune disease. If the pandemic has shown one thing, it is how deficient our society is. We need a fresh start.

The motto of #rp22 refers to the last line of the Queen song "Bohemian Rhapsody". Which song do you think should definitely be included in a karaoke session at #rp22 and why? 
"Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan.