The Vienna Manifesto on Digital Humanism

Atualizado há 4 anos

Como resultado do 1st International Workshop on Digital Humanism (, realizado em Viena em abril deste ano e reunindo cientistas de diferentes áreas de conhecimento, foi elaborado o Vienna Manifesto on Digital Humanism ( Ele é assinado pelos importantes pesquisadores presentes ao evento (Moshe Vardi entre eles) e está aberto a adesões por outros pesquisadores; eu já assinei!

Para os Grandes Desafios em Computação da SBC eu havia escrito este texto (2006 – antes da época!)

The first international workshop on Digital Humanism was held in Vienna, Austria, April 4 – 5, 2019. It was organized by the Faculty of Informatics of TU Wien, and supported by the Vienna Science and Technology Fund, and the Viennese Municipal Department for Economic Affairs, Labor and Statistics.

In the two-day workshop over 100 attendees from academia, governmental organizations, industry and civil society participated in a very lively and interactive way. The program consisted of three main sessions, namely

  • History and Impact of Information Technology
  • Humans and Society, AI and Ethics
  • Dynamics of a New World – Issues and Answers

In a total, there were 12 invited speakers and a final panel, drawing conclusions and identifying possible future directions. Presentations and discussions focused on technical, political, economic, societal and legal issues; and benefited from contributions from the different disciplines represented at the workshop (i.e., political science, law, sociology, history, anthropology, philosophy, economics and informatics). At the center of the discussion was the relationship between computer science / informatics and society, or, as expressed during the workshop, the co-evolution of IT and humankind.

We must shape technologies in accordance with human values and needs, instead of allowing technologies to shape humans. Our task is not only to rein in the downsides of information and communication technologies, but to encourage human-centered innovation. We call for a Digital Humanism that describes, analyzes, and, most importantly, influences the complex interplay of technology and humankind, for a better society and life, fully respecting universal human rights.

In conclusion, we proclaim the following core principles:

  • Digital technologies should be designed to promote democracy and inclusion. This will require special efforts to overcome current inequalities and to use the emancipatory potential of digital technologies to make our societies more inclusive.
  • Privacy and freedom of speech are essential values for democracy and should be at the center of our activities. Therefore, artifacts such as social media or online platforms need to be altered to better safeguard the free expression of opinion, the dissemination of information, and the protection of privacy.
  • Effective regulations, rules and laws, based on a broad public discourse, must be established. They should ensure prediction accuracy, fairness and equality, accountability, and transparency of software programs and algorithms.
  • Regulators need to intervene with tech monopolies. It is necessary to restore market competitiveness as tech monopolies concentrate market power and stifle innovation. Governments should not leave all decisions to markets.
  • Decisions with consequences that have the potential to affect individual or collective human rights must continue to be made by humans. Decision makers must be responsible and accountable for their decisions. Automated decision making systems should only support human decision making, not replace it.
  • Scientific approaches crossing different disciplines are a prerequisite for tackling the challenges ahead. Technological disciplines such as computer science / informatics must collaborate with social sciences, humanities, and other sciences, breaking disciplinary silos.
  • Universities are the place where new knowledge is produced and critical thought is cultivated. Hence, they have a special responsibility and have to be aware of that.
  • Academic and industrial researchers must engage openly with wider society and reflect upon their approaches. This needs to be embedded in the practice of producing new knowledge and technologies, while at the same time defending the freedom of thought and science.
  • Practitioners everywhere ought to acknowledge their shared responsibility for the impact of information technologies. They need to understand that no technology is neutral and be sensitized to see both potential benefits and possible downsides.
  • A vision is needed for new educational curricula, combining knowledge from the humanities, the social sciences, and engineering studies. In the age of automated decision making and AI, creativity and attention to human aspects are crucial to the education of future engineers and technologists.
  • Education on computer science / informatics and its societal impact must start as early as possible. Students should learn to combine information-technology skills with awareness of the ethical and societal issues at stake.
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