Digital Utopias

CHAIRE HOOVER Louvain-La-Neuve

19/02/2016, Louvain-la-Neuve

The digital environment has generated a great deal of utopian thinking, such as the idea of a cyberspace where anonymous users largely escape state regulation, the opportunities for individual speech and democratic participation, or the promises of a more horizontal economy and a strengthening of the social fabric due to new forms of collaborative production and consumption practices.    
Today however, enthusiasm has largely given way to skepticism and disillusionment: Internet is often seen as a means of mass surveillance in the hands of state and multinational companies, a tool for state censorship, a space filled with hatred and dangerous speech, or a means of increased competition threating the right of workers and the Welfare State.
Are the social changes induced by the Internet getting us closer from the utopias of the pionneers, or do they foreshadow the dystopias uncovered by contemporary thinkers? From John Perry Barlow to Evgeny Morozov, what remains of the promises of the Internet ?

Organizers : Maxime Lambrecht et Alain Strowel