„Dare more innovation“
Interview with Prof. Dr. Andreas Knie
The digital revolution is opening up enormous potential. However, making it a success will take a new measure of pioneering spirit and daring, as Prof. Dr. Andreas Knie explains in this interview.
b on top: What is the significance of digitalization for our future development?
Andreas Knie: Digitalization and artificial intelligence as a part of the digital scope run through every aspect of our modern world. Digitalization undermines that which already exists and much that we are now familiar with will simply disappear. However, digitalization is also opening up many avenues for innovation and allows us to do things better. With it, for example, we can decentralize energy distribution and move over to one hundred percent renewables. It also allows us to reorganize demographic change and get to grips with the changeover to green transport, which will significantly reduce pollutant emissions, as well as with changing trends in agriculture that are promoting healthier and more sustainable products and raw materials. All this means that digitalization can be seen as an industrial revolution such as we have not experienced in the last hundred years. It gives us the keys to the future and it is up to us to be proactive and seize the options and potentials present in these structures – and not to look at them through the prism of the present and anxiously turn our backs on them.
b on top: What is important in the development and implementation of new digital solutions?
Andreas Knie: It takes something that we in Germany no longer know or have – and that is the trial-and-error culture. We must try things out and experiment much more, with more openness and a different type of cooperation. We need more pioneering spirit that allows us to dare to do new things, and sometimes to fail in them. Instead of that, we are ruled by strict regulations and a consolidated knowledge base. Of course, this system is undoubtedly highly nuanced, but it is not flexible and it tends to hinder us in our search for the new. In this way, we are held captive by our past successes, dependent on established process steps, with extreme security and every possible safeguard. We live in a no-risk society with fully comprehensive insurance cover and no-one dares take risks about anything any more. That is also the case because we have something that we want to keep. When all is said and done, we have reached the highest level of prosperity in human history, and we want to protect that. However, in my opinion, that is only possible if we trust in the new and give it a chance.
Prof. Dr. Andreas Knie was born in 1960 in Siegen and, since 1996, has been professor of sociology at Berlin Technical University where he specializes in the fields of transport research, technology and science policy and innovation research. Since 2017, he has also headed the Science Policy research group at the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB). Since 2018, he has also been Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Choice GmbH. Before that, he was Managing Director at innoZ GmbH and authorized representative and departmental head at Deutsche Bahn AG.