European Forum Alpbach 2020

Club Alpbach Zurich is the central Hub for all Swiss events related to the European Forum Alpbach in 2020. While we host our own Hub-Events, we would also like to promote the events hosted by other organizations.

Virtual Events

Individual Resilience and Global Pandemics

26. August 2020, 15:30-16:30

Online as part of the
European Forum Alpbach

Lecture with Prof. Didier Sornette of the Chair for Entrepreneurial Risk at ETH Zurich

The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is stressing the world population, health care system and economies at a level not experienced since WWII or the last “Spanish flu” pandemic of 1918. This shock provides a real-life test of the resilience of human societies, challenging our understanding and level of preparation.

A decay of global individual health resilience, due to cumulative multi-factor pollutions and modern ways of life, has made the whole population strongly susceptible to the Covid 19 pandemic.

To ensure future resilient societies, we propose to prioritize economic development fostering depollution of the ecosystem and of individuals, and training individual responsibility.

Cryptoeconomics – Implications on the Monetary System

01. September 2020, 10:00-11:00
Online as part of the
European Forum Alpbach

Panel Discussion with
Dr. Marcus Dapp, Researcher at the Dept. of Computational Social Science of ETH Zurich
Demelza Hays, Researcher at the Business Economics program at the University of Liechtenstein
Roger Darin, inacta AG
moderated by Stefan Klauser, Aisot GmbH

Negative interest rates, spiking gold prices, the creeping elimination of cash… the fundamentals of our monetary system are being undone at this very moment. Yet in the wake of the financial crisis an alternative was born: Bitcoin, a blockchain based digital currency.

But is this technology really an alternative to our current monetary system or merely a supplementary upgrade? How do visionaries from academia and industry see the technology evolve? Can it ever be an enabler of individual freedom? What about the many potential technological disadvantages? And what about the omnipresent risk of global surveillance?

Fireside Talk with Prof. Laura Diaz Anadon,

02. September 2020, 12:00-13:00
Online as part of the
European Forum Alpbach

Fireside Talk with
Prof. Laura Diaz Anadon, Professor for Climate Change Policy at the University of Cambridge

Originally trained in chemical engineering, Prof. Anadon has been a professor of climate change policy at the University of Cambridge since 2017.

She is the Lead Author in the 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III on Climate Change Mitigation.

She was on the advisory board of the project on “Accelerating Energy Innovation” at the International Energy Agency and has worked as a consultant for various organisations (i.e., Climate Strategies on a World Bank project, UNFCCC, and OECD).

God and the Machine
Religious Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence

02. September 2020, 14:00-15:00
Online as part of the
European Forum Alpbach

Lecture with
Ryan Haecker, Researcher at the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambrige, UK

Religious communities around the world have increasingly begun to ask how the advent of artificial intelligence may come to affect the future of theological doctrines.  Academic theologians have too often limited their responses to the level of social practices and religious beliefs, even as they have neglected to raise critical philosophical questions concerning the origin, nature and purpose of AI for future theological investigations.

With a radical plurality of religious assumptions regarding divinity, intellect, and artifice, we may well expect to discover in conversations an as yet unacknowledged diversity of perspectives on the promise and peril of artificial intelligence.  Such conversations have only recently been hosted by theologians – and never to my knowledge in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. And yet such conversations have also typically assumed a conspicuously secular framework that tacitly marginalises and even implicitly evacuates any abiding concern for the central importance of theological doctrine and religious perspectives. 

We wish to respond to these trends with a panel discussion on how our fears and hopes have and should be shaped by a plurality of both religious and non-religious perspectives on the rise of artificial intelligence. We will ask of these religious traditions: ‘What is artificial intelligence?’; ‘How have religions imagined mechanical minds?’; ‘How can machines be made to imitate a human mind?’; and ‘What might the consequences of AI be for theology and religions?’