In this fast-paced environment where technology is an irreplaceable attribute to our modern-day societies, questions about the flows of data we exchange via multiple devices that we own, the electronic residue we leave behind while browsing the internet and the final destination of this data often remain unanswered. At the same time, new applications of data can make a great contribution to human flourishing, but, to realise these benefits, societies must navigate significant choices and dilemmas.
The pan-European ALLEA-Royal Society conference “Flourishing in a data-enabled society” delved into these conundrums during a two-day event held in Buckinghamshire (UK) on 1-2 November 2018. Experts explored major opportunities and challenges that come with new uses of data, and discussed the potential trade-offs that stem from such use across various sectors: in society, from academics to governments, from civil society actors to tech industry. In a set of keynotes, panel discussions and breakout sessions experts from ALLEA Member Academies representing a variety of academic backgrounds and stakeholders from a multitude of sectors convened for an interactive and multidisciplinary conference at Chicheley Hall, the Royal Society’s residential conference centre.
A discussion paper on Flourishing in a data-enabled society was subsequently published jointly by ALLEA and the Royal Society in June 2019. Based on the outcomes of the conference, the paper calls for a coordinated approach across disciplines and sectors to ensure data and digital technologies support human flourishing. It provides a concise overview on the impact of digital transformations and how increased data collection and use is transforming individual lives, modern societies and markets.