The DiDaT project investigates the unintended side effects of digitalisation.

Headline: Digital Data as Subject of Transdisciplinary Processes (DiDaT)


Digitalisation is changing our lives and bringing fundamental change to many domains, including both benefits and unwanted side effects. The challenge for sustainability research is to anticipate and identify the "unintended side effects" (so-called 'unseens') of the digital transition and to develop strategies that enable societies to cope with them properly.

According to a European Expert Round Table held in 2017, the relations between the "ownership, economic value, use, and access" of/to digital data are not well understood and may cause unintended side effects to individuals, groups, companies, and other parts of society.

The DiDaT (Digital Data as subject of Transdisciplinary Processes) project, which is led by Ortwin Renn and Roland W. Scholz, will analyse and appraise the vulnerabilities of different stakeholder groups in a transdisciplinary dialogue between science and practice.

DiDaT aims to:

  • construct a structured list of critical, unintended side effects of the digital transition affecting sensitive stakeholder groups;
  • promote self-declarations and regulations as an important input for the successful development of "best practices" for the use of digital data;
  • discuss the principles of digital data ethics in accordance with the finding of the European Expert round Table that ethical principles have not yet been sufficiently discussed and implemented.

The project's initiation phase commenced on 1 October 2018.

A genuine transdisciplinary process led by scientists and practitioners is scheduled to begin with a stakeholder conference in summer 2019.

Verena van Zyl-Bulitta uses the example of DiDaT to research the potential of transdisciplinary processes for sustainable sociotechnical transformation management.

Click here to view a detailed description of DiDaT. Please send us an email or call Roland Scholz at +41 79 422 44 01 if you want us to give you more information that cannot be found in the brochure or if you would like to participate in the project.

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