Visual media is a complex language that is able to invoke deep and meaningful reactions in the viewer. It can be used as a tool to communicate information to the masses, make complex scientific concepts accessible to the layperson, or preserve powerful and inspirational moments in history.Animal rights documentaries have influenced the day to day decisions of thousands of people by uncovering hidden truths about the meat industry through confronting images. Powerful use of photography and video has influenced the outcome of the Vietnam war. More recently, phone camera videos have brought human rights violations to the forefront of the media and day to day discussions of millions.
However, with the advent of modern software and editing techniques, also comes the possibility of creating deep fakes, and misinformed videos. The power of film, video and photography is diverse and far reaching; so what role does it play in preserving, conveying and creating knowledge in the 21st century?
With the social media revolution in the 21st century also came the largest increase in expressive capability in human history. Social media can be a tool for spreading awareness around objectively good causes such as charities or human rights movements. However, it can also be a tool to spread misinformation, form hate groups, fear mongering and divide populations. In many countries freedom of speech is a constitutional right, however the laws regarding social media are in the early stages of development. It is unclear whether or not the same freedom of expression should also extend to social media platforms.
It is clear that social media has a strong grip on society and politics. In this workshop we will discuss how social media can be used to spread information and knowledge, whether it be for good or bad. Possible topics include: Social media movements: #metoo, #blacklivesmatter etc., using social media as a tool for activism, freedom of speech on social media, social media and politics, social media and discrimination, echo chambers, collecting data, spreading propaganda to target certain demographics, social media algorithms.
Possible discussion topics include but are not limited to: Consequences and benefits of homogenous teams, the use of incentives and quotas in the hiring process, gender roles in academia, representation of minority groups in academia, brain drain and migration due to academia, decolonisation of academia.
“Mankind invented the atomic bomb, but no mouse would ever construct a mousetrap.” - Albert Einstein on the creation of the Atomic bomb
Humans have been using the scientific method systematically for years, and with this opened up a world of nearly endless possibilities.
Gene technology is a field that has had huge progress - and now allows us to understand and manipulate all living creature’s DNA. This has applications like curing diseases, and maybe it could be used to improve human beings as well?
Artificial intelligence allows machines to do any task a human could do, faster and more accurately. This can improve production, remove the need for humans to work and probably solve many more so called problems. It also allows states to surveil their citizens, giving complete control over criminals, law abiding citizens and political opponents.
The knowledge unlocked by research in these sciences, among many others has given mankind power in ways that earlier was not possible. As more technological breakthroughs are found, our power grows.
There is a need for a discussion on the interplay between scientific breakthroughs and their ethical implications. Knowledge is power, but is there such a thing as too much knowledge? Too much power? Can we make appropriate laws and regulations for technology that’s constantly in development? Is it ethically justifiable to enable research on humans that may have destructive consequences? Is it ethically justifiable to impede it? Where do we draw the line?