15 Jan 2019
12:30 - 16:00
Geneva, Switzerland


What can sci-fi teach us about digital politics and its future?

What was once considered science fiction is becoming a reality at an accelerated pace. What can sci-fi teach us about the future of digital politics? Can it inform better policies? If so, how?



With this event, we want bring two very different constituencies together: Sci-fi authors and sci-fi enthusiasts on the one side, and policy makers, diplomats, and international relations professionals dealing with digital politics on the other. What discussions emerge and what lessons can be learned at the intersection of the two? What happens when science fiction and policy meet?


This event will create a safe and fertile place for thought experiments by social scientists, policy makers, and diplomats – inspired by the imagination of sci-fi authors and by the meeting of different professional cultures and mind-sets. It will allow us to take a moment in our busy lives for thinking through technological developments and their impact on the way we work, live, and organise our world.


Sci-fi can be escapist or critical about our potential future, often in reaction to our present reality. It can provide dystopian or utopian visions of what is to come, but also, many alternative universes in between. Which of these universes becomes our reality will depend on our collective human agency, including our digital policy and its governance. Like with the butterfly-effect, the measures that we take, or not take, right now, will steer our common destiny in the direction of one of these potential futures.

What? Exploring topics of critical importance in a highly interactive setting, such as:

  • Human-machine interactions: Are machines becoming part of us and/or are we becoming part of them?
  • The future of work: Will machines take over, leaving humans destitute, or will we create a world of plenty?
  • The future of war and conflict: Are killer robots on the rise or will we create a world with less conflict?
  • The future of organising our societies: Are we facing chaos as traditional models of organising our societies are breaking down, or are we able to create a new social contract that leads to a more equal and just world?
  • The future of cities: Are we entering an age of plenty with free services for everyone or an age of increasing inequality between the haves and the have-nots?
  • The future of reality: Will our reality dissolve in fake news, misinformation, and virtual environments, or will we be able to create meaningful relations between the virtual and the real?
  • The future of science and technology: Will (human) science and innovation come to an end or will we realise unprecedented opportunities in research and innovation with the help of AI and other technologies?


Sci-fi meets policy – what can we expect: Keynote address on the lessons sci-fi has to offer

Brainstorming and exchange: Highly-interactive discussions in small groups with sci-fi authors, experts, and enthusiasts which zoom in on one of the key questions of the future of digital politics

Convergence: Plenary discussion on the lessons that have materialised

Where and when:

15 January | 12:30 – 16:00 CET | Geneva, WMO building, 2nd floor

Join the Geneva Internet Platform for this half-day event.

The Geneva Internet Platform is an initative of the Swiss authorities


Members of the Steering Committee are FDFA, OFCOM, Canton of Geneva, ETH-Zürich, and the University of Geneva

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