Virginie Tournay joined the CNRS in 2006 and CEVIPOF-Sciences Po in 2013. She holds a PhD in political science awarded by Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne. She also holds a Master’s in molecular biology and in sociology, both awarded by Paris V René Descartes. She spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University. She was awarded the CNRS bronze medal in 2011 for her work on developing a theoretical framework for a pragmatic approach to the study of institutions. Her research focuses on the politics of “living matter”, scientific mediations and political transformations of digital technologies. She lectures on the political challenges of artificial intelligence at Sciences Po and was a columnist in “Pour la Science”, a monthly magazine on international scientific news.
She has been Principal Investigator for two grants from the French National Research Agency: Medical uses of human stem cells facing regulation (Theracels: 2008-2012); Designing life – What cultural issues for ongoing biotechnologies? (ComingGen: 2019-2023)
She initiated the tribune “Scientific Culture Must Be Reclaimed” (106 signatories approx.) The tribune seeks institutional solutions to mobilize public authorities against the deregulation of the scientific information market. https://reconqueteculturescientifique.wordpress.com/blog/
She has served on two CNRS committees, the HCB and the Bartolone-Winock commission on institutions. Virginie is a member of the OPECST scientific committee (2016). She explores possible futures through creative writing, both her own work (Civilisation 0.0) and the writings of others.
In 2020, she is recruited by the French Defense Innovation Agency as a member of a team of ten science fiction authors: “the Red Team”. This group is in charge of doing foresight for the Ministry of the Armed Forces, by imagining “future geopolitical crises and technological ruptures involving the military” on a horizon of 2030-2060.
- Why is participating to the European Risk Management Forum important to you?
This meeting initiative is essential to learn to walk much more comfortably in a world that has become increasingly interconnected and which is characterized by a strong deregulation of the digital information market. Nowadays, more than ever, it is vital for organizations to adapt to very short predictive horizons. This is true for public and private decision-makers. It is true for citizens as well. All areas of activity are concerned, from environmental issues to transport or defence ones. In other words, risk management is at the heart of social ties and collective trust.
The understanding of these issues has to be approached on a large scale. The European level is the appropriate level to deal with these issues that affect all contemporary Western societies.
- What does “Transitioning Together” mean to you?
For me, “Transitioning Together” means that we are all in the same boat, but also that we have the ability to positively intervene in the changes underway. They directly concern how we grasp our natural and social environments, the sorting of information to be privileged and the choices to be made in the hierarchy and treatments of threats. There is, I think, a balance to be found which requires a certain collective awareness of the issues, beyond the technical dimension.
- What would you like the audience to remember after your keynote speech?
We must be aware that we are faced with challenges that are not only of technical nature. The digitization of our societies is not just a technical problem. From the moment that our relationship with the world is modified by technology, it is both our political values and our principles of social cohesion that are transformed. I think, for example, that we cannot understand what will be the idea of conflict, the defense of a country in 2050 if we don’t keep in mind the radical evolution of moral and social norms in the coming decades.