Lecture Series: Major developments and challenges of digital Societies

A lecture series that deals with current trends and associated challenges of digital societies. In particular, different aspects of mediatization, datafication and automation are focii.

The lecture series is open and free of entry for all students of zeppelin university, as well as all citizents of the lake constance region. It can be attended in person, but will be streamed as well.


| 13. Okt. 2022 | Jarko Fidrmuc: Automation, Digitalization, and Income Inequality

In his presentation, Prof. Jarko Fidrmuc talks about the impact of industrial robots as well as investment in computing equipment and digital technologies on income distribution in West Europe between 2004 and 2017. This is especially important for policy formulations after the pandemic, because current rapid automation efforts can potentially have significant long-term implications for the labor market.

| 20. Okt. 2022 | Henning Mayer: Connecting Humans and Robots? Perspectives from the United Robotics Group

The presentation focuses on the current opportunities, development corridors and challenges of social robotics through the eyes of the United Robotics Group (URG). As one of the largest European service robotics players, URG unites developers and integrators of software and hardware robots. During the session, different lines of development will be presented and translated into sociologically significant highlights.

Central topics include:

- Conversion of programming interfaces to low-code meta layer software

- Frameworks of making different robots communicate with each other

- Transition from hardware robots to avatars and virtual assistants

- Switching from bilateral HRI to human-robot teaming in hybrid groups

| 27. Okt. 2022 | Felix Krell: Twitch Theatre and its Audiences

Felix Krell, himself an avid follower of twitch culture, presents recent findings from a particular developent in livestreaming history. In 2020's pandemic lockdowns, livestreaming roleplay in games like Rust or Grand Theft Auto went viral. Millions of people watched as their favorite streaming personalities collaborated in open-ended, improvised (game)play that went on for almost a whole year and changed the landscape of livestreaming as a whole.

By analysing this phenomenon through the lens of classical theatre studies works, implications for future understandings of media audiences become apparent.

| 3. Nov. 2022 | Florian Muhle: Automated Communication and Public Opinion Formation in a Hybrid Media System

The lecture deals with the phenomenon that a significant part of communication in social media today is not generated by ordinary citizens, but by (partially) automated accounts, which aim at influencing processes of agenda setting and public opinion formation. After introducing this phenomenon, the lecture considers with the consequences of respective automated activities for the public sphere and public opinion formation in digital societies.

| 10. Nov. 2022  | Silke Fürst: New Dynamics of Public Attention in the Hybrid Media System

Audience metrics and rankings have gained importance in digital societies and are omnipresent in social media, journalism, and public discourse. This talk sheds light on how usage data trigger specific dynamics of public attention in the hybrid media system and contribute to the rapid amplification of attention across different media. Nontransparent data and narratives driven by vested interests play an important role here, which calls for more critical research and public scholarship.

| 17. Nov. 2022 | Nico Wettmann: Valuing Sleep in the 24/7 Society. Insights into the Social World of Selftrackers and Biohackers.

In this lecture, Nico Wettmann presents insights into the Quantified Self and biohacking community with a focus on sleep. It is shown that the technological exploration and shaping of sleep does not lead to a devaluation and reduction of the passive and inactive time of life, but rather to a valorization of sleep.

Self-trackers use digital media technologies to conduct self-experiments in order to acquire knowledge - always in the search for a good night's sleep.

| 24. Nov. 2022 | Felix Krell: Challenges and Risks of Avatarial Embodiment in Social VR

Avatarial Embodiment in Social VR is more than just digital puppetry. It can be a powerful tool for self-actualization of people with body dysphoria and generally a freeing way to express oneself, but also the grounds for intense feelings of derealization or a new avenue for abusers to harass and exploit. In a possible future where XR tech is widely used, understanding the implications of virtual embodiment therein is paramount.

This presentation will tackle avatarial embodiment on the Social VR plattform VRChat from multiple angles, aiming to show how current users negotiate their hybrid corporeality in everyday life. Felix Krell will give practical examples of virtual raves, drinking nights, cybersex and more.

Event Info

  • ZF Campus | Blackbox
  • Fallenbrunnen 3, 88045 Friedrichshafen
  • Stream: Click on "Online access"


  • Start: 19.30
  • Duration: 60 minutes with room for discussion until 22:00


Prof. Dr. Florian Muhle

Florian Muhle is professor of communication science with a focus on digital communication at Zeppelin University. His research focuses on current transformations of the public sphere that occur as result of the emergence of a hybrid media system. In particular, he is interested in the influence that automated actors - for example so-called socialbots - can have on respective transformations.

Felix Krell, MA

Felix Krell ist a research fellow at the chair of media and communication science of Zeppelin University. For his phd, he is conducting an ongoing ethnographic inquiry in VRChat's rave scene. His wider research focus are novel ways in which online communities interact with oneanother and spend their daily lives together.


Regarding any questions on the lecture series, please contact felix.krell@zu.de.

Zeit, um zu entscheiden

Diese Webseite verwendet externe Medien, wie z.B. Karten und Videos, und externe Analysewerkzeuge, welche alle dazu genutzt werden können, Daten über Ihr Verhalten zu sammeln. Dabei werden auch Cookies gesetzt. Die Einwilligung zur Nutzung der Cookies & Erweiterungen können Sie jederzeit anpassen bzw. widerrufen.

Eine Erklärung zur Funktionsweise unserer Datenschutzeinstellungen und eine Übersicht zu den verwendeten Analyse-/Marketingwerkzeugen und externen Medien finden Sie in unserer Datenschutzerklärung.