The Re:Publica conference comes to Dublin! Re:Publica has been running, and growing, since 2007 and while each conference has a different theme, they can all be described with the slogan “Leben im Netz” or “Life in the internet”. As such, Re:Public is perhaps one of the more relevant and accessible meetings of Internet though leaders. Previous conferences have converted topics such as Data Protection, Intellectual Property Rights, Social Media and Internet Politics, to name just a few. Re:Publica is usually based in Berlin but is now expanding to other countries, with the very first of these events taking place in Dublin on October 20th. I had the pleasure of attending several sessions and have picked some of my favourites for you.
— Burson-Marsteller (@BMgermany) October 19, 2016
fischerAppelt´s installation “Beat populism”, photo credits: Frederik Schmidtke
The first session of my day took place in Smock Alley Theatre where Karlin Lillington hosted a discussion between human right lawyer Daragh Murray and Internet Pioneer Dennis Jennings on the subject of Privacy and Data Protection in the Digital Age. This was a fascinating chat that covered technical and legal aspects of the Data Privacy issue – something that we as a culture have ignored for far too long. The panel spoke of the divide between law and ethics, as well as some interesting potential solutions. How do we empower the user to control their own data? Can the profit motive of corporations be controlled when it comes to data ownership and abuse? Is corporate social responsibility just lip-service or can it be something more genuine? A fascinating start to the day!
— re:publica (@republica) October 20, 2016
Next up, also in Smock Alley, Shermin Voshmgir spoke to us about Blockchain, Smart Contracts and the Future of Law. Blockchain technology is grabbing a lot of headlines of late and with good reason. It’s the technology that underlies cyber currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, but it enables far broader applications that really do promise transformative change for society. Imagine money without banks, contracts without lawyers, corporations without managers or government without politicians; all of these and more can be achieved with blockchain tech. Of course the legal frameworks have a lot of catching up to do first!
I rounded out the day with a lively discussion in Merchants Arch Pub between Isger Jansen and Amy Keith on EdTech and the future of education in Ireland and Germany. Isger presented a brief overview of some of his favourite educational technology startups from his native Germany, which lead to a wider discussion on EdTech in a global context. This is my own field and so of course I got drawn into the discussion. Educational technology has great potential but we all agreed that it’s use in the classroom needs some careful thought. We chatted about “just in time learning” in the workplace as well the rise of mobile learning in the developing world. This was a great way to close off the day before heading to the Generator Hostel for some “Powerpoint Karaoke Action”.
The next Re:Publica event will be back in Berlin from May 8th to the 10th , 2017 and is already shaping up to be equally fascinating!