During its nearly eight year history, re:publica has developed into Europe’s largest social media conference.This year, re:publica was host to over 6 000 participants and had the privilege of welcoming many of the digital society’s most important minds to its stages. Since its inception, the digital society has faced continuous changes – but never have these changes been so palpable as since whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s revelations during the summer of 2013.
re:publica 2014’s motto INTO THE WILD highlights various points of departure for solutions in the internet of the near future. When algorithms turn us transparent and controllable through predictability, perhaps we have to become more unpredictable; dissolving old structures, veering from the well-trodden path in favour of chaos and irrationality, heading INTO THE WILD. Yet this begs the questions: how will we navigate and find one another? How can one whisper into the global net and, in particular, with whom? Will those calling for a free and unrestricted internet not have to face being ever more vigilant and controlling of those who may partake and those who must stay out?
While the omni-surveilled net may have become draughty it will continue to protect its vital interests, learn to sidestep and manoeuvre and continue to develop. Not despite, but distinctly because nothing is as it once seemed, re:publica 2014, explored the concept INTO THE WILD in search of unexpected technical solutions, surprising impulses stemming from business and politics in anticipation of a new, unbridled internet culture.