23rd February 2022

Digital Society – How digitalisation has impacted society (UK/Australia Season) 23 February

This event is part of the UK/Australia Season.

The UK/Australia Season is a major new cultural exchange celebrating the diverse and innovative artist communities and cultural sectors of each nation. A collaboration between the British Council and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, The Season is a vibrant programme spanning theatre, film, visual arts, dance, design, architecture, music, literature, higher education and a public engagement programme.

Designed to strengthen and build cultural connections, the Season theme is “Who Are We Now?” and will reflect on our history, explore our current relationship, and imagine our future together. The Season launched in both countries in September 2021.


The University of Queensland (UQ) and the UK Government’s Science and Innovation Network (UK SIN) Digital Society Virtual Event.

The focus of UQ-UK-SIN ‘Digital Society’ virtual event is ‘How digitisation has impacted society’ across a range of key areas including health and medicine; the arts, technology and the ethics of AI. Global experts will explore these thematic focal points to unpack the evolution of digitisation and its impact upon society through the lens of art and culture bringing us to answer the Seasons’ question – “Who are we now?”

See programme and register

The event will be delivered in two parts to be held on Wednesday 23 February 2022.

Part A: Welcome and Panel Discussions
Brisbane time: 4-6pm AEST
Melbourne time: 5-7pm AEDT
London time: 6-8am GMT

Official open to the event with formalities and breakout discussions addressing:

Digital Health and Society: This panel will discuss the significant impact a digitalised society will have on the health care sector,. With rising costs and increasing demand, our current health models are no longer fit-for-purpose or sustainable. Partnering to develop digital health systems allows us to plan new ways to deliver care to more people, more efficiently. Panelists will discuss ‘who are we now?’ amid a backdrop of automated health care, AI influence, and an uncertain and resistant public.

Digital World and Disruptive Technology: Showcasing the strategic UQ-Exeter partnership and the QUEX Institute theme of ‘Digital World and Disruptive Technology’, this session will explore the realities of our digital world and how we must adapt in the face of disruptive technology. Embracing a future where robotics and mechatronics, information technology and machine learning inextricably link with the majesty of classical languages, ancient history, archaeology, ancient theatre, museum studies, and philosophy will prompt us to ask ‘who are we now?’ and who will we be in the future?

Part B: Keynote and the Great Debate!
Brisbane time: 6-8pm AEST
Melbourne time: 7-9pm AEDT
London time: 8-10am GMT

Engaging keynote speaker, and the ‘Great Debate’ where you will get to hear from several inspiring and high-profile speakers who will argue either the affirmative or negative side of the topic ‘digitisation is reshaping humanity for the better’.

The Great Debate: During the debate, we hope to challenge our audiences, explore futurist concepts, and promote new lines of thinking relative to the way digitisation will continue to impact society now and into the future. Wherever you are around the world, encourage your friends and family to join us for this fun and inspiring event as leading experts argue ‘if digitisation is reshaping humanity for the better.’

Have your say when we invite you to vote for the winning team through ‘peoples choice’.

Expand your thoughts on:

Who are we now?
Who will we be in the future?
Is digital media fuelling friction, hatred, exhaustion?
Is digital media good or bad for our freedom of speech?
Is a future where health care is automated or delivered by robots a better one?
Are we hurtling towards life in the ‘metaverse’ or are we already living in it?
How will we socialise, engage and build relationships in a future that is bound by artificial intelligence and augmented reality?


Steve Benford is the Dunford Professor of Computer Science at the University of Nottingham where he co-founded the Mixed Reality Laboratory. He is Director of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)-funded Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training and also Director of the University’s Smart Products beacon of research excellence. He was previously an EPSRC Dream Fellow, a Visiting Researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge and a Visiting Professor at the BBC broadcasting company. His collaborations with artists have been recognised by the Award of the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica for Interactive Art, multiple British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards (BAFTA) nominations, four Best Papers at the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Computer-Human Interaction Conference, and were documented in his book Performing Mixed Reality (MIT Press). Steve is a keen guitarist and is striving to be the world’s best Pops for his grandchildren (at least that what it says on his coffee mug).

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