Grand Challenges! Digital Solutions?

Grand Challenges! Digital Solutions? tackles some of the most pressing issues of our time, such as the health crisis, climate change, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. Are hospitals collecting too much data about us—or too little? Does anybody even trust doctors in the age of Covid-19 conspiracies? Can digital tools help minimize the effects of climate change, or are software companies doing more harm than good? And do advances in virtual reality and artificial intelligence spell the end of humanity as we know it? 

Session Overview

Medicine and the Internet: Sundhedsdata i en digitaliseret verden (DA)

Time: Thursday May 27 at 13.00-14.45
Auditorium: Samfundsmedicinsk Auditorium

I vores digitaliserede verden har læger, hospitaler og forskere, men også private firmaer adgang til mere data om deres patienter end nogensinde før. Sundhedsdata indhentes i overflod, blandt andet takket være nye innovative teknologier, der tillader læger at indsamle informationer om borgernes helbred i en detaljegrad, man ikke før ville have troet muligt. Men med den overflod af data følger også en række nye svære spørgsmål om etik, jura, ulighed og økonomiske interesser. Hvordan bliver sundhedsdata egentlig brugt – og af hvem? Kan det være uetisk at indsamle data til sundhedssystemet – og kan det være uetisk ikke at gøre det?


Chair: Bogi Eliasen, Director of Health at the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies

Carsten Obel, Professor of Medicine, Aarhus University
De nordiske lande som Populations Test Lab    

Hanne Marie Motzfeldt, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Copenhagen
Tech, profit og sundhedsdata

Morten Sodemann, Professor of Medicine, University of Southern Denmark 
Mennesket er den mindst ringe computer  

Medicine and the Internet: Trusting the Mediatized Science of Covid-19

Time: Thursday May 27 at 15.15-17.00
Auditorium: Samfundsmedicinsk Auditorium

The panel explores trust and mistrust in the scientific establishment in the wake of Covid-19. The pandemic dramatically exposed the importance of scientific expertise for society, as scientists were thrust into the media limelight to make policy recommendations and share the constantly evolving scientific knowledge about the virus. The relationship between politicians and scientific advisors also came under scrutiny, and lively debates proliferated on social media, mixing science, skepticism, ideology, and conspiracy theories. The panel examines how traditional, digital, and social media depicted scientific expertise relating to Covid-19, and considers the broader implications for public trust in science.    


Chair: Antoinette Fage-Butler, Associate Professor of Communication, Aarhus University  

José van Dijck, Professor of Media and Digital Society, Utrecht University
Social media and the public debate on Covid-19 in The Netherlands  

Mikael Klintman, Professor of Sociology, University of Lund
Knowledge resistance and the multi-layered game of trust  

Anabela Carvalho, Associate Professor of Communication Sciences, University of Minho 
Communicating uncertainty and ignorance: what can COVID-19 teach us?  

Digitalization and Climate Change

Time: Friday May 28 at 10.30-12.15 and 13.15-15.00
Auditorium: William Scharff Auditorium

The green transition will be impossible without digital technologies, but the IT sector is also one of the greatest contributors to global CO2 emissions. How can digital advances help us understand the causes and effects of climate change and provide more effective mitigation strategies, and how can internet initiatives and the study of social media reshape democratic societies in more climate-friendly ways? Conversely, how can the IT sector be made more sustainable?


Chair: Christoffer Karoff, Associate Professor of Geoscience, Aarhus University 

Panel 1 at 10:30-12:15:

Trine Plambech, Manager Intelligent Sustainability at the Alexandra Institute 
The many ways in which digitalization can support the green transition

Torsten Bondo, Business Development Manager at DHI
Water and climate changes from a satellite's perspective  

Pierre du Plessis, Postdoctoral Researcher in Anthropology, Aarhus University
Wildlife, water, and power: Potentials and limits of digitalization in the Anthropocene  

Mikkel Bennedsen, Assistant Professor of Economics, Aarhus University
Designing a statistical monitoring procedure for verifying global carbon dioxide emissions  

Panel 2 at 13:15-15:00:

Tage Duer, Senior Analyst at the Danish Council on Climate Change
The transition to a low carbon society – options and requirements

Steen Hildebrandt, Professor Emeritus of Management Studies, Aarhus School of Business
Digitalization aspects of the Global Goals and the 2030 climate agenda

Natasha Friis Saxberg, CEO at the Danish ICT Industry Association
Driving the green transition with technology

Per Tejs Knudsen, CEO of cBrain
Why accelerating government climate action requires rethinking digital solutions     

Beyond Humans: Virtual Reality

Time: Saturday May 29 at 10.30-12.15
Samfundsmedicinsk Auditorium

The panel asks what it means to be a virtual human, exploring how virtual reality may impact our society. Current uses of virtual reality range from industry applications such as remote collaboration to research on human perception, therapy for physical or psychological disorders, and the creation of novel forms of social interaction. The panel discusses a variety of topics related to how virtual reality can enhance (or limit) our human abilities, what realistic simulations and fantastical worlds we can create virtually, and the power of immersive experiences to change what we feel and believe.    


Chair: Tiare Feuchtner, Postdoc in Computer Science, Aarhus University

Sune Wolff, CTO and Partner, Unity Studios
Empowering users to create their own reality in SynergyXR  

Sofía Seinfeld, Lecturer in Multimedia Studies, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-BarcelonaTech (UPC)
Changing virtual bodies, changing minds

Ken Perlin, Professor of Computer Science, New York University

Claudio Pacchierotti, Researcher, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Univ Rennes
Touching virtual reality: Extending immersive experiences through haptics   

Beyond Humans: Artificial Intelligence

Time: Saturday May 29 at 14.45-16.30
Samfundsmedicinsk Auditorium

Artificial intelligence is the talk of the town, but what is the reality behind the headlines? The panel gathers leading computer scientists and entrepreneurs to discuss the future and implications of AI. What are the social ramifications of leaving decision-making up to automated algorithms, and how can the data ethics around artificial intelligence be brought into line with democratic values and human rights?


Chair: Kasper Green Larsen, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Aarhus University 

Alexandros Iosifidis, Associate Professor of Computer Engineering, Aarhus University
The automation of Computational Intelligence  

Stephen Alstrup, CEO of SupWiz and Professor of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen
AI-business. How to win and lose.

Suresh Venkatasubramanian, Professor of Computer Science, University of Utah
Critical Algorithm Studies: on how computer science can be more introspective about the values encoded in algorithmic systems