In what is now the eighth “Geist & Gegenwart” Whitsun Dialogue, we turn our attention to the prospects for Europe in a digital age. In Styria, research and development accounts for more than five percent of regional gross domestic product, making it one of the leading research regions in Europe. Our universities, research institutes and clusters, and also our research-intensive companies, are playing an active part in this development of technology. The Styrian culture of collaboration in science and research has become a real hallmark that serves as a model for other regions. If we want to continue along this successful path, we must develop our existing areas of expertise and utilise the opportunities that digitalisation brings for science, business and society.
The increasing dynamic of digitalisation is changing our lives to an undreamt-of extent. The times requires us to consider the rapid technological developments in the light of their consequences for society, for the economy and for the individual. In future we shall have to pay even closer attention to fundamental ethical questions and to the societal, economic, social, legal and cultural dimensions of technological developments. These issues will need to be discussed from an interdisciplinary perspective. Styrian scientists and academics play an important part in this societal discourse.
The “Geist & Gegenwart” Whitsun Dialogue provides an opportunity to debate these crucial issues for the future of Styria and the whole of Europe with prominent speakers from Austria and other countries in the inspiring atmosphere of Schloss Seggau. Let us use the opportunities that we have!