re:publica 2018 – Our picks of this year’s program


29 April 2018

Auf Deutsch lesen

From 2 to 4 May the re:publica 2018 will take place in Berlin, offering more than 400 hours of keynotes, talks, meetups and workshops. Here are the sessions we highly recommend:

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

2 May  | 11:00 | Stage 1
Opening Keynote: How an Algorithmic World Can Be Undermined
danah boyd
Algorithmic technologies that rely on data don’t necessarily support a social world that many of us want to live in. We must grapple with the biases embedded in and manipulation of these systems, particularly when so many parts of society are dependent on sociotechnical systems.

2 May | 13:30 | Stage 7
Failure by design? How the digital advertisement industry drives the info sphere
Anja Zimmer | Theresa Züger | Dipayan Ghosh | Daniel Budiman
The digital ecosystem is driven by big platforms - and behind the scenes by the online advertisement industry. To understand how the digital info sphere is organized, we need to deconstruct the workings of digital advertisement. With his analysis, Dipayan Ghosh will reveal the status quo of this entanglement and propose future steps to find a balance between common good and commerce in the digital world.

2 May | 13:30 |  Stage 2
Whose Future? Automation anxiety, ecological apocalypse, and the struggle for the future of labor
Peter Frase
There has been much recent discussion about the impacts of new technology on work. There is a fear that robotics and computerization can displace and dislocate workers, and possibly lead to mass unemployment. While the technologies are new, this basic dynamic is hundreds of years old, going back at least to the industrial revolution.

2 May | 14:45 | Stage T
Exploring standards for algorithmic transparency
Andrea Hackl | Laura Reed | Djordje Krivokapic | Vladan Joler
Badly designed algorithms using biased or flawed datasets can violate people’s rights. Given such power, there is a critical need to build consensus around standards for algorithm creation and use to ensure they are accountable to the public interest. This workshop will brainstorm best practices for algorithmic transparency by internet companies.

2 May | 16:00 | Stage 1
Algorithms of Oppression
Safiya Umoja Noble
In her recent book Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search engines like Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities. Data discrimination is a real social problem.

2 May | 17:15  | Stage J
Designing Tomorrows / 4 Futures Workshop
Shalev Moran | Peter Frase
Following Designing Tomorrow, re:publica’s multi-year collaboration with the Utopia festival and inspired by the talks on the Cancel the Apocalypse track we will embark on a collaborative experiment aimed at expanding our political imagination. Together we will learn methodologies and practice thinking in terms of plural “futures” rather than a single monolithic “future”. The workshop would be led by a team well versed in speculative political and creative practices. We’re looking forward to designing the futures with you.

2 May |  19:00  |  Stage 8
Facts & Fiction: The Myth of German Microtargeting
Simon Kruschinski
During the German federal election 2017 journalists and experts sparked a debate about the methods and threats of data-driven campaigning in Germany where facts were mixed up with fiction. Based on sixteen in-depth expert interviews with German campaign strategists of CDU and SPD I will discuss both parties´ data-driven strategies. Due to budgetary, legal restraints, party structures and individual decisions or knowledge they are less precise and sophisticated than journalistic coverage implied.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

3 May | 10:00 | Stage 7
Platform failure! YouTube, Facebook & Co. go rogue
Bertram Gugel
YouTube und Facebook verselbständigen sich: Algorithmen und die damit einhergehenden Feedback-Loops bestimmen die Sichtbarkeit von Inhalten. Daraus ergeben sich sowohl für die Plattformen als auch für Creators und Publikum viele Probleme und Herausforderungen – dass es auch anders geht, zeigen Spotify und Netflix.

3 May | 15:00 | Stage 5
Robots behaving badly: legal responsibility in the age of artificial intelligence
Andres Guadamuz
Can a bot break the law? Who is liable if a self-driving car crashes? Can a robot infringe copyright? Can a software developer go to jail for the actions of a machine learning algorithm? This talk will try to answer this and other questions regarding artificial intelligence and the law.

3 May | 15:30 | Stage 5
Beautiful Robots: Selling Automation to the Public
ginger coons
Promotional material for industrial robots and advanced manufacturing is becoming highly aestheticized, turning tools into objects of desire. In the face of fears about losing jobs to automation, emphasizing the beauty of robots re-positions them in the public imagination. This talk shows how beautiful depictions of robots are used to imbue automation with romance and mystique. It critiques a recent trend which presents industrial machines in imagery borrowed from sport and luxury advertising.

3 May | 20:00 | Stage 4
Film Screening: The Cleaners - Die Digitale Müllabfuhr
Moritz Riesewieck | Richard Gutjahr
This revealing documentary peers into the shadowy world of online content moderators. Screening: 93 minutes + Q&A with filmmaker Richard Gutjahr.

Friday, 4 Mai 2018

4 May | 11:15  | Stage 1
Equitable Pioneers for the Digital Economy
Trebor Scholz
Trebor Scholz presents activist research on the worker cooperative as a promising economic alternative for the digital economy. Showcasing work with platform co-ops in India, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, Columbia, Brazil, the UK and the United States, Scholz demonstrates that a democratically-owned People’s Internet is not only possible but that it already exists. Silicon Valley loves a good disruption; let’s give them one.

4 May | 14:15 | Stage 2
Uploadfilter: Nur die erste Schlacht von vielen
John Weitzmann
Politicians are discovering automatisation  as a universal remedy for law enforcement. The tough lobbying battle over Article 13 of the EU copyright reform offers a glimpse of what is on the horizon for the coming years: web-wide automated filtering of content. We give an overview of how the arguments work, what is to be expected and why it is so important to win this first battle for Article 13. (Talk in German with live translation)

4 May | 16:00 | rp:International Space
Meetup: Building Cooperative Alternatives for the Digital Economy
Trebor Scholz | Valeh Tehranchi
The meetup aims to create interactive discussion, in continuation of the main talk, to explore building cooperative alternatives for the digital economy.