Seminar: Digitalisation, Future Universities and Society

Digitalisation has been one of the key strategies of the University of Helsinki with a strong focus on educational methods and pedagogy. At this event, we will instead discuss what digitalisation actually means when it comes to research and teaching in different disciplines. The framing of this event is that history shows that technology does not usually drive social change. On the contrary, social change is typically driven by decisions we make about how to organize our world.

Here are some of the issues that will be discussed.

How are legacy universities responding to transformative changes in society, for instance the rapid introduction of automated decision-making systems in the private and public sectors? What does “computational” mean to us? What do students need to learn to be able to thrive in a working environment characterised by human-machine interaction? What do we teach our students so they can participate in developing these new systems? What is our response to smart machines that are taking over jobs and how do we make sure that the outcomes are ethically, morally and socially tolerable? And how do we make sure that our discussions focus on intelligence augmentation and not artificial intelligence, the techno-optimistic utopia from Silicon Valley?

In short, how do we teach our students to be involved in how to organise our world and decide on our futures?

Turning things upside down, we also need to discuss materiality. Not everything changes because of new technology. How are we talking about legacy and path dependence, things that continue to be physical and tangible?

Our keynote speakers are Professor Mike Friedrichsen, who recently founded the Berlin University of Digital Sciences (BUDS), Germany, and Senior Researcher Carl Heath, expert on ICT and learning from RISE Interactive in Gothenburg, Sweden. The event will also have participants from the University of Helsinki presenting how digitalisation affects their work and future plans.

The event is organised by The Media Lab at the Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki and is open to teachers, researchers, administrators and students at the University of Helsinki as well as the general public.

Programme for the day:

9:00: What, me? Digitalisation? Changing society, professionalism and the challenges for academia: Opening of the seminar by Carl-Gustav Lindén, Docent and manager of the Media Lab.

9:10: What is digital social science and how should we think about it? Senior Researcher Carl Heath, RISE Interactive in Gothenburg, Sweden.

9:35: I had to create a start-up university! Professor Mike Friedrichsen, the Berlin University of Digital Sciences (BUDS), Germany.

10:00: Open discussion

10:30: What are we doing with digitalisation at the University of Helsinki? Examples from the field:

Presenters from the University of Helsinki:

“Citizen Mindscapes data journeys”:  Minna Ruckenstein, Associate Professor at the Consumer Society Research Centre and the Helsinki Center for Digital Humanities.

“Rajapinta has a dream: Research infrastructure for digital social sciences”:  Minttu Tikka, Grant Researcher, Media and Communication Studies.

“Digitalisation and Computational Social Science”:  Michael Mathioudakis, Assistant Professor and Chair for Algorithmic Data Science at the Helsinki Centre for Digital Humanities (HELDIG).

“Legal Education and Digitalisation. Co-creation and Problem-based Teaching”:  Beata Mäihäniemi, postdoctoral researcher in law and digitalisation at University of Helsinki Legal Tech Lab.

"Digital Health and Precision medicine: Hiking up the mountains of data":  Vilja Pietiäinen, PhD, senior scientist, Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland FIMM.

"How digitalization changes history (and maybe also historical research)": Jani Marjanen, PhD, researcher, Centre for Nordic Studies and Helsinki Computational History Group.

11:30 Final discussion and wrap up.

12:00: The conference ends

More about the subject: Teaching & studying at the University