Exhibition in Berlin shows future visions of the digital society

What happens when scientists imagine the future of our digital society? How will we work, live, love, learn and rule in the year of 2040? What will our world look like two decades from now? The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) now invites interested citizens, scientists and journalists to explore these questions at the twentyforty exhibition.

Digital technologies have changed our lives significantly in the last twenty years. With the looming rise of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and data ubiquity it seems evident that the biggest changes still lie ahead of us. What will be next?

Time for utopias

The exhibition delves into the digital utopias of thirteen visionary researchers from different fields of expertise: a digital geographer, a computer scientist, two communication scientists, four legal scholars, a dementia researcher, three political scientists, and an educational researcher. There were authors from ten different countries, united by their desire to shed light onto the mysteries of a digital world to come. Beyond presenting their exceptional stories, the exhibition features audio-visual experiments in science communication and knowledge transfer. Visitors will be invited to dive into future visions of the digital society and to engage with pressing questions about our lives twenty years from now.

An unlikely experiment

Behind twentyforty stands an unlikely experiment in utopian academic writing: With an international essay competition the HIIG offered scientists a platform for imagining utopias beyond the usual research. Researchers and thinkers were invited to submit their visions along five categories: love, live, learn, work and rule. Their visionary stories address the opportunities and challenges that digital technologies present for society in the future of 2040. 

“Scientists are used to constructing meaning from the past or analysing the present. In our project, we have created a space for them to think and work on their own research topics in a completely new way”, explains Dr. Benedikt Fecher, initiator of the twentyforty project and head of the Knowledge & Society research programme at HIIG. The best submissions – short stories, theatre plays, essays and email conversations – were published in an open access book. In addition to this publication, an episodic filmand a radio play have also been produced.

Book your visit here

The exhibition takes place from 2-15 July as a “pioneer project” at Haus der Statistik in Berlin. Visiting the exhibition is free of charge. Registration for one of the time slots is highly recommended.


Tanja Zagel | Tel. +49 30 200 760 82 | presse@hiig.de