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The digital society is a society in transformation. Digital technologies play an important role in our everyday lives and provide us with a whole range of new options. Science Year 2014 "The Digital Society" showed how research can produce new solutions to promote this development and focuses on the impact of the digital revolution.
It explored how we as individuals and a society are changing as a result of digitalization. Science Year 2014 invited people to discuss the major challenges of the digital society. How can we secure our privacy? Can the world's collective body of knowledge soon be stored on a hard drive? Will sharing be the shopping of the future?
The debate about these and many other issues was structured as follows:
Our communication culture has undergone fundamental change. How do we communicate on the web? What tools do we use to improve data security? Science Year 2014 addressed these and other topics, for example the forms of political participation: Will we experience more direct participation in an e-democracy?
The economic system has also changed fundamentally in recent years. Industry 4.0 involves an Internet of Things which merges the real with the virtual world. What are we doing to prepare for tomorrow's digital working world? How are working conditions changing?
Children nowadays are becoming familiar with digital technologies such as laptops and smartboards upon entering school, if not before. What will future learning look like? Will people actually be less smart because everything can be googled? Or does the digital revolution only just require another type of intelligence?
Various events during Science Year 2014 encouraged dialogue between the scientific community and the general public. The Year started with a programme of learning through cinema. It featured films selected by media educators which show various aspects of the digital society.
The Science Year exhibition ship MS Wissenschaft started its tour of many German cities in May. Visitors could enjoy interactive digital society exhibits on board.
Throughout the Science Year, the Forschungsbörse contact platform provided valuable assistance for researchers as well as local initiatives and schools which wanted to invite researchers for an interview. Furthermore, discussion events and competitions were held all over Germany to reflect on the consequences of digitalization.
The Science Years are a joint initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Wissenschaft im Dialog (WiD). The Science Years have been promoting exchange between society and the research community since 2000.