Campus - 18.09.2017 - 00:00 

62 Doctor’s degrees awarded

On 18 September 2017, the University of St.Gallen (HSG) awarded 62 Doctor’s degrees. In his address, President Thomas Bieger spoke about responsibility in the era of artificial intelligence.
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20 February 2017. On the occasion of the award ceremony, President Thomas Bieger presented 62 degree certificates:

  • 34 in economic sciences,
  • ten in law,
  • eight in social sciences,
  • four in political sciences,
  • three degrees of Doctor of Philosophy in Economics and Finance, and
  • three degrees of Doctor of Philosophy in Finance.

Interaction between expertise and big data

"In the social context, a doctor's degree is proof of the academic quality of statements – for instance in the media and in public," President Thomas Bieger reminded the new doctors. Particularly in the age of "fake news", public expectations of a clean separation between opinion, hypothesis and insight had increased. And with the development of big data and artificial intelligence, the responsibility of academia would be even greater.

After the "measurement of the world", big data now also paved the way for the "measurement of man", said Thomas Bieger. "But fortunately, people are not simply atoms which only react. People are capable of learning; social systems can be developed." For this reason, academics had to include an instruction leaflet with their research results. And besides artificial intelligence, classic intelligence was also required. "Only in this way will the interaction between expertise and big data become the success factor of research in the age of digitisation."

The value of a doctor's degree in this day and age

In her address, HSG alumna Dr. Franziska Sprecher, lawyer and Assistant Professor of Public Law at the University of Berne, spoke about the value of a doctor's degree in this day and age. "Today, a great deal is expected of young professionals: a good education, work experience, experience of foreign countries, as well as social commitment – and all this at as young an age as possible," said Sprecher. The acquisition of a doctor's degree, which took several years depending on the discipline, did not seem to fit this picture. But the first impression was deceptive. A doctor's degree enabled people to acquire skills which were highly valuable in view of the numerous challenges of the present day. Doctoral students' autonomous development of and research into an academic issue enabled them to attain technical and methodological competence. Equally, coping with high and lows, or fund-raising, were important experiences. "A doctor's degree thus provides a valuable basis for a sustainably successful and fulfilled professional and private future."

The musical background to the ceremony was provided by the orchestra of the University of St.Gallen.

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