The digitalization of society is one of the most critical issues of our time. Today digital artefacts and online practices penetrate a major portion of our everyday organizational, social and economic activities. The scale and scope of the transformative power in emerging phenomena such as connectivity, platforms, algorithmic power, and big data is more vigorous than other disruptive technologies in history. This leads to great opportunities, but also to great challenges.
The technical development together with the growing openness and culture of participation and engagement in value creation fostered by the Internet, has lowered the barriers for citizens to take part in problem solving and innovation to address societal challenges. At the same time the relatively few infrastructure providers and digital platform owners that enable these activities, gain much power, leading to challenges related to transparency, autonomy and governance.
The generation of vast amounts of data by devices as well users and their behaviour, creates powerful opportunities for innovative services and products, but also for the tracking of citizens and customers, that raises important issues regarding integrity and safety. There is an urgent need to explore the scope and transformative power of digitalization for the wider society, and its relation to strategy and governance in order to act on opportunities and handle threats.
The initiative for the digital society is an effort to mobilize researchers to join forces in order to contribute to a digital society that is inclusive, equal, sustainable, and safe on a global scale as well innovative and competitive.