Fireside Chat with Günther Oettinger

Author: Annika Kreil (Class Spring 2015, Political Sciences and Business Administration)

On 21st May, Günther Oettinger, the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, visited the CDTM for a fireside chat. Before his job as the Digital Commissioner, he chaired the European Commission of Energy from 2010 until 2014. In his previous career, Oettinger was Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg from 2005 until 2010.

Oettinger focused on the Digital Agenda for Europe during his visit at CDTM.

With regards to the rapid changing digital environment, Oettinger aims to establish a strong and united digital Europe. The commissioner warned that the future of Europe is heavily dependent on whether Europe succeeds in catching up with Silicon Valley and Co. in the next five years. For this reason, he promotes a European digital domestic market: a well-functioning digital economy enables Europe to grow and to keep up with the international competition. As concrete actions that fire up the digitalization process in Europe, Oettinger demanded a quick extension of the digital infrastructure in Europe. In his vision, the extension of broadband connections would also mitigate the problem of network neutrality. Further plans include a reform of copy rights, as well as initiatives in cyber security, cloud storage, and industry 4.0.

Last, but not least, Oettinger encouraged the students of the CDTM to take the initiative and to visit Berlin or the European Commission. Eventually, Europe’s future depends on the entrepreneurs that revolutionize the status-quo and help Europe to stay internationally competitive.

The last part of the visit included a presentation of the projects results of the CDTM Center Study, “Innovating Art through Technology.” When Oettinger tapped different fields projected on the floor, music samples were triggered and visualized. The more people that joined and stepped on fields, the richer the song became. The commissioner’s visit finished according to the Center Study’s motto: “Through music in public spaces, strangers can become collaborators!”


Sketch notes from the event by Juli Sikorska.

April studies Neuro-Cognitive Psychology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and started CDTM in Fall 2014. She is interested in how we affect, and are affected by, technology in our increasingly digital world.