RTE Arena host Seán Rocks leads panel discussion at Digital Transformations

Seán Rocks is the presenter of Arena, RTÉ Radio 1’s flagship arts, culture and entertainment programme (Mon-Fri 7pm).

Digital Transformations, the conference on the digital society, is delighted to welcome Seán Rocks as the chair of our evening panel, featuring Julian Gough and Paul McBride.

Seán Rocks is the presenter of Arena, RTÉ Radio 1’s flagship arts, culture and entertainment programme (Mon-Fri 7pm) In that role, Seán has interviewed many major writers, actors, musicians and artists – including Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis, Edna O’Brien, Martin Sheen, Danny De Vito, Saoise Rónan, John Banville, Brendan Gleeson, Roddy Doyle, Steve Reich and Marina Carr.  He has hosted numerous outside broadcasts from major arts festivals, and anchored Arena’s live three-hour broadcasts from Meeting House Square during Culture Night 2013 and 2014. He has also hosted public interviews with figures in both the national and international arts world. The Monaghan man, a former actor, has been working with RTÉ Radio since 2000 and has previously guest presented The Arts Show, Spirit Moves and Rattlebag. He has also produced, written and presented several series for Radio 1. Before that, he worked with RTÉ Lyric Fm, presenting programmes including Lyric Breakfast, Lunchtime Choice, Lyric Pitch and CultureFile.

Julian Gough is the popular and acclaimed author of Juno & Juliet, and now of Connect a virtual-reality-obsessed teenage boy is caught in a collision between his parents’ high-tech careers, and his choices will alter the balance between technological progress and human life as we know it. Connect is a novel of ideas that explores what connection—both human and otherwise—might be in a digital age.

Paul McBride is the founding General Manager & VP of Global Data Solutions for machine learning at Lionbridge.  A Kerryman, he has made Mayo his home since arriving in Ballina twenty years ago to “spend just one year” starting up the business for its multinational parent.  Today, the Ballina business has developed a community of over 15,000 bi-lingual professional across the 5,000 towns and cities in 102 countries around the world.  This “Global Crowd” provides local data and insights that enable technology brands make their Artificial Intelligence (AI) based products and services, such as internet search , more relevant.  Paul sees the business he leads as less an Information Technology and more a Social Science enterprise – as they extend their technology to some of the remotest regions in the world to enable societies undertake their own digital transformations.

Why should you be a part of Digital Transformations?

Innovation

Real innovation involves exploration, curiosity, and contact with ideas and experiences that are unfamiliar. Digital Transformations will start you on a journey of new understanding that can lead to new discoveries for you and your business.

Networking

The speakers, from the arts, media, business, education, technology and film will be joined by key influencers in the audience. This is a unique gathering of people, with whom senior managers and policy makers can establish potent new relationships.

Insight

To gain a competitive edge, you need to see things more clearly, and more quickly than others in your field. Digital Transformations will help clarify what the digital society is, without the jargon, and will use the imagination of artists and creative professionals to help you gain that critical insight.

Meet the speakers (part 2)

At Digital Transformations, we want to get to the heart of things. We’re not satisfied with looking at the Digital Society. We want to look inside it, and inside ourselves. In all the excitement and trepidation surrounding the emergence of a digital society, we all – all who are affected by it, who try to express themselves within it, and who want to contribute to it – need to strip away the superficial layers of debate about change and transformation. Everyone will gain from such a debate. Artists and creative professionals will find new ways to respond to the changed environment. Businesses will find new ways to see and develop opportunities. Policy makers and educators will find new ways to share the benefits of these changes with everyone.

Meet Ronan Laffan

Ronan Laffan

Ronan is Chief Solution Architect at Version 1, a leading Irish and UK IT services company. Ronan has over 15 years’ experience in the delivery of technology solutions and is known in the industry as an innovative and strategic thinker.

Naturally, the digital society needs technical people, but the obsession with the mechanics of technology and the co-opting of the language of the creative process risks suppressing real creativity and crippling innovation. Ronan argues for a renaissance of the arts in the tech industry.

CONFERENCE THEME: NETWORKED PERSONALITY

We’ve always been social, but the digital society seems to have created the paradox of constant contact and alienation. We have no shortage of channels for communication, self-expression and re-invention, and yet authenticity, credibility and dependability seem to be increasingly elusive.

Communication is prolific, easy to engineer, and very visible. Connection is elusive, unpredictable, impossible to replicate.

In a digital society, will the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual's distinctive character be directly associated with one's own learning and habits? Will behaviour - on which identity rests and through which decisions are made - be wholly one's own, or will the machines and systems to which one is connected become proxies for identity? In what sense will we be legally, morally, and intellectually responsible for our creations?

Meet Liing Heaney

Liing Heaney

Liing is a new media artist working in Dublin, Ireland. She has been making work influenced by natural systems, cybernetics, alternative geography and feedback loops. Her work engages with a range of media from electronics, game engines, and 3D animations to analogue forms such as drawing and sculpture.

Liing delves into the isolating affects of digital technologies in physically remote and rural regions. She explores the links and tensions between geological time/pre-history and the “Information Age”. Liing reveals “the myth of the wilderness” in a digitised world and the physical components & limitations of digital infrastructure.

Meet Ian Keaveny

Ian holds a BA Hons Fine art painting/printmaking from Winchester school of Art and has had a number of solo and group shows. Since 2012 worked almost exclusively online and in digital media.

Ian gives us a brief survey of Glitch Art, with examples and its influence, issues of copyright, in relation to traditional art forms and practices, its aesthetics, Dirty new media and porn, its bypassing of traditional art criticism and gallery curation and its celebration of the broken as a response to an increasingly intrusive surveillance culture.

Ian has written “Glitch art holds much in common with pop art but it is much more cannibalistic and far more ruthless. When a paradigm crashes it takes no prisoners and the language you have used before no longer makes sense.”

Why should you be a part of Digital Transformations?

Innovation

Real innovation involves exploration, curiosity, and contact with ideas and experiences that are unfamiliar. Digital Transformations will start you on a journey of new understanding that can lead to new discoveries for you and your business.

Networking

The speakers, from the arts, media, business, education, technology and film will be joined by key influencers in the audience. This is a unique gathering of people, with whom senior managers and policy makers can establish potent new relationships.

Insight

To gain a competitive edge, you need to see things more clearly, and more quickly than others in your field. Digital Transformations will help clarify what the digital society is, without the jargon, and will use the imagination of artists and creative professionals to help you gain that critical insight.

Meet the speakers (part 1)

Over the next few weeks we will introduce you to our themes and to our contributing speakers.  But first we need to demystify the digital society. Stephen Spielberg wrote of technology “It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.”

The news is filled with anxiety inducing stories of artificial intelligence programmes with the latent intentions of Skynet, of a jobless and inequitable future built on the backs of a robot workforce, where privacy is a commodity and our sense of self is an online performance.

Digital is everywhere – in education, health, government policy, art, heritage, economics – but is “digital” and “digital transformation” just Tech’s latest mantra? Is it just sloganizing?

What’s the difference between the digital society and the information age? Where can we see this digital transformation taking place?

Meet Glyn Darkin

Glyn Darkin

Glyn is Chief Digital Architect at Wipro Digital. He’s expert in designing, building, delivering and running successful digital services by applying the skills and experience learned through delivering solutions for some of the UK and Ireland’s largest brands: Tesco, Sony, Clarks, Levis, Sky, Lakeland, Toys R Us, RBS, usgrave, FBD, SEAI, and AIB.

Glyn is at the forefront of the changes in the technology that are transforming business and society, and he’ll lay the foundations for the conference with a primer of the most far-reaching changes coming our way.

CONFERENCE THEME: DIGITAL HUMAN

History – said James Joyce – is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake. The narratives of the digital transformation have the recurring character of the digital human. A character that is sometimes an angel and sometimes a devil. It is the cyborg that absolutely will not stop, it is the uploaded consciousness, it is the child forever immersed in the endless online game.

Is the digital society defined by the interaction of human beings and the environment they occupy and create by their collective action? Or is the digital society a human being+machine now the unit around which identity, rights, legal identity and meaning revolve?

Meet plan b

plan b

Sophia New and Daniel Belasco Rogers – aka plan b – are British artists based in Berlin since 2001.They have recorded everywhere they have been with a GPS, each day for the last decade and the collection of all their text messages sent to each other.They will explore our practice of data collection, and its historically unprecedented current levels of capture. They will talk about their own experiences of making art from digital sources, using open source operating systems and software.

Meet Joanna Hopkins

Joanna Hopkins

Joanna’s work explores the overlaps between the digital society, the brain, how people behave and psychology. She has completed multiple projects within the social engagement, digital and residency based sphere, including the CURAM Artists in Residence Programme in NUIG.Joanna will present The Empathy Machine. An interactive video booth that works via a pre-programmed Raspberry Pi. It reads facial and voice detection, which then triggers a series of pre-recorded prompts and questions. The Empathy Machine invokes the idea that even though our daily interactions are becoming more computer based, an on-screen persona may never replicate the empathetic nature of a real live human being.Online doctors and medication is a rapidly growing area. If, without touch, and physical awareness or assessment, can diagnosis be wrong or not helpful at all?

Why should you be a part of Digital Transformations?

Innovation

Real innovation involves exploration, curiosity, and contact with ideas and experiences that are unfamiliar. Digital Transformations will start you on a journey of new understanding that can lead to new discoveries for you and your business.

Networking

The speakers, from the arts, media, business, education, technology and film will be joined by key influencers in the audience. This is a unique gathering of people, with whom senior managers and policy makers can establish potent new relationships.

Insight

To gain a competitive edge, you need to see things more clearly, and more quickly than others in your field. Digital Transformations will help clarify what the digital society is, without the jargon, and will use the imagination of artists and creative professionals to help you gain that critical insight.

Jeremy Rifkin to address digital transformations

Leading international economist, author and social theorist JEREMY RIFKIN joins artists, authors, senior business leaders, academics and technologists at the Digital Transformations Conference in Ballina this May.

If, as Rifkin argues, the economy of the future is based on access then what will that mean for both our private and public lives?

Creativity is hailed now as the new energy to drive our future economy. But if technology can outsource imagination and creativity to programmes and algorithms, if technology can imagine, design and create then what does it mean to be human? Will businesses respond simply by developing new products and services, or will the very concept of business and business models be radically transformed?

Together with a range of artists and creative sector professionals DIGITAL TRANSFORMATIONS will address the possibilities of the new digital age..

Mr Rifkin is the author of the best-selling Third Industrial Revolution and The Zero Marginal Cost Society. Hehasbeen an advisor on technology and change to the leadership of the European Union since 2000 and adviser to the leadership of the Peoples Republic of China on developing a sustainable low-carbon economy.

Digital Transformations brings together artists and thinkers at the cutting edge of creativity and technology including Steve Woodhall, Paula Kehoe, Cate Field, Sinead McDonald, Leah Hilliard, Joanna Hopkins, Paula Kehoe, Alexandra Jonsson, Loes Bogers, Glyn Darkin, Ronan Laffan, Sinead McDonald, Sophia New and Daniel Rogers, Paul O’Neill, Ian Keaveny and more, to address the themes of the Digital Human, The Networked Personality and the Purpose of Art and culture in the digital society.

Digital technology has great potential, but as we rush into this future it is necessary to pause and ask – how will the technology reshape us? What will it mean to be human?