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The Research Program "Digital Future"

The graduate program has been closed on April 2021

With our research program we aim at the development of the scientific basis for a master plan “Digital future” for employers, employees, freelancers and private persons to support them in the proactive forming of the digital transition.  Our research is based on a holistic concept. Following this approach we identify where the digital transition happens. We want to understand its mechanisms and to generate methods that prepare and guide people in their working and private life.

The digitalization is a technological process that leads to revolutionary changes in all aspects of life. The term digitalization comprises very heterogeneous developments. For example, on the one hand the high flexibility in working life made possible by digital technologies is perceived negatively as a constant availability and a dissolution of boundaries between work and private life. On the other hand the novel flexibility is appreciated as an individual control over time with new freedom and possibilities. It is very hard to assess the impact of the digital transition and to make predictions about the influences on life and business.

Poorly noticed is the fact that the technical development opens up possibilities to actively create a modern and mature form of digital life and work. Research studies about the readiness and possible consequences of the digitalization of work processes exist. But a clear trend about the employment effects cannot be found. This means that it is not the technical innovation that deterministically forces a certain route and formation of the digital transition. Instead a diversity and formability of the future become apparent. These possibilities of forming a digital future are studied in the projects of our research programme considering chances as well as risks appropriately.

Interdisciplinary research teams of the Universities of Paderborn and Bielefeld are working together in the different projects. The teams consist of psychologists, sociologist, engineers, economists and computer scientists. The interdisciplinary work is a prerequisite for a new approach to the potential future scenarios. Due to the close cooperation of different experts a comprehensive exploration of the components of socio-technical systems is possible – not only isolated for singular aspects but in a systemic context.

The University for the Information Society