Quarterly July
Dear friends and fellow researchers,

An exciting first half of 2021 is behind us and our institute’s rooms are slowly filling with life again. Currently, we are channelling our research spirit into addressing the crucial ethical questions of digitalisation on a global scale. For example, we are undertaking a research sprint on new solutions for Africa's digital sovereignty, which is currently going at full speed. And we’re looking at the topic of intersectional AI, where we are asking ourselves how codes can be made approachable for everyone, moving us towards care and repair – instead of perpetuating power imbalances. In doing so, we are still keeping an eye on European society: how can we help strengthen young and digital engagement here? And what are the demographic and political needs for action on digital health that can enable a dignified, meaningful and self-determined life?

Stay tuned & stay safe,

Jeanette Hofmann | Björn Scheuermann | Thomas Schildhauer | Wolfgang Schulz


Digital Self-Determination | Africa Sprint

The research sprint "Toward an African Narrative on Digital Sovereignty" is powering ahead at full speed. The goal of the 25 researchers from 14 different African countries is to formulate an intra-African perspective for the development of the continent in the digital age. The sprint runs until the end of July 2021 under the leadership of the South African Research Chair in Industrial Development at the University of Johannesburg (SARChI-ID) and...
| …is part of the Ethics of Digitalisation project.
On 24 June, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as patron of the project, entered into a virtual exchange with the fellows of the research sprint. They talked about new approaches to realising the national and individual interests of the continent's citizens and how self-determined action is possible for Africa in the digital world.
Quarterly – 1
| Look here for the video recording & the press release.

Digital Electoral Compass | German federal election

Platforms, crypto & AI: Digitalisation is a central issue in the 2021 German federal elections. But what answers do six political parties have to the social discourse on digital regulation, justice and interconnection? In the next few weeks, our election compass Digital 2021 will go online. It creates transparency, shows the positions of the parties on digital policy issues and provides an overview of the individual plans.
| Register now for the launch.
Quarterly – 1

Why, AI? | New Online Learning Space

“AI will kill us all!” or “AI treats us equally!” – Everyone is talking about artificial intelligence, as it has become one of the defining technologies of our lifetime. But there are also a lot of misconceptions. Why, AI? is designed as an online learning space to help you find out more about the myths and truths surrounding automation, algorithms, society and ourselves. Submit your own contributions to join us on this important journey.
| You can explore all the myths here.
Quarterly – 5

Digital Turn in Higher Education | Data Collection

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the higher education landscape is experiencing a moment of profound change with the rapid transition to distance and online learning. To understand this digitalisation process, the Organisational Adaptivity in the Higher Education Context (OrA) project is currently conducting interviews with members of eight universities in five European countries. An article on new opportunities and organisational conditions provides...
| …a first look at their data.
Quarterly – 2

Third Engagement Report | Dialogue Day

Following the publication of the report on civic engagement, HIIG organised a series of events to enable a dialogue on its findings. In the past months, four events were held with practitioners from civil society, academia and politics to discuss the implementation of the key recommendations for action. The final event aimed to empower young and digitally engaged volunteers. Here, they were able to share their ideas...
| ...and claims with actors from different sectors.
Quarterly – 19

Computational Thinking in Social Science | Erasmus+

How can models and simulations help us to understand social dynamics? In an increasingly turbulent and interconnected society, the demand for social scientists who are capable of analysing behavioural dynamics using computational methods is growing. ACTiSS is an educational online course aimed at fostering the development of computational thinking among students and young professionals.
| Check out the introductory module on FutureLearn.
Quarterly – 4


Aging, Independent Living & Technology | DUCAH

This white paper outlines the need for a strategic, multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder approach to research and design of solutions for aging. It presents the Learning Lab, a research platform developed by the Digital Urban Center for Aging and Health (DUCAH). The lab integrates innovation processes into real living and working environments, meaning that the people who live and work there also become part of the participatory design and research.
| Discover the white paper.
Quarterly – 10

Data Colonialism | Giving by Taking Away

Large tech companies have recently led and funded projects that claim to use datafication for "social good". Together with Nick Couldry, HIIGster João Carlos Magalhães explores how companies’ public communication and patent applications reconfigure the social good as data-based, probabilistic and profitable. Thus, the “good” becomes a facet of data colonialism, resulting in inherent harms to freedom. Find out why big tech often has to take something in order...

| …to "give" something.
Quarterly – 11

Societal Impact | Social Sciences and Humanities

Science is increasingly expected to help solve complex societal problems. Therefore, the societal impact of research is high on the agenda of politicians and research funders. But it is often unclear under what conditions this can happen. This study, on which our Knowledge & Society research programme collaborated, highlights the ways in which social scientists can...
| … contribute to solving urgent societal problems.
Quarterly – 12

Talking AI into Being | National Imaginaries

Current political and public debates are discussing how the potential and risks of AI can be regulated. HIIGster Christian Katzenbach and associated researcher Jascha Bareis analyse how the national AI strategies of China, the US, France and Germany are establishing AI as an inevitable and massively disruptive technological development. This is built on rhetorical devices such as a grand legacy and international competition. Why are the respective national AI imaginaries…
| ...remarkably different despite this uniform narrative construction?
Quarterly – 13

Researching for Desirable Futures | Real Utopias

Moments of crisis can serve as critical junctures for imagining alternatives. As the future has become increasingly volatile in these troubled times, there is a great need to develop a theory that can guide society towards its future potentialities. But how can we theorise what does not (yet) exist? In this essay, Juliane Reinecke and HIIGster Ali Aslan Gümüsay take one of many steps and advocate for such (re-)search for the future.
| How can acts of (disciplined) imagination become input for theory building?
Quarterly – 17

HIIG BOOKSHELF | Further Worthwhile Publications

Managing Service Providers in the Sharing Economy: Insights from Airbnb’s Host Management
Georg von Richthofen, Florian Wangenheim

Digital Transformation of Higher Education
Global Learning Report

Specific Certification Schemes as Rule, General Schemes (and Criteria) as Exception
Maximilian von Grafenstein

Finding Design Patterns in Law: An Exploratory Approach
Riikka Koulu, Amadeus Peters, Jörg Pohle

People Analytics at the Workplace: Every Break You Take, Every Click You Make
Sonja Köhne, Miriam Kloepper (German video)


Cookies make you lose control | 25 August 2021

While surfing the internet, we are overwhelmed by various cookie policies and user consents. But only very few people even understand what these terms are all about. What do these increasing inequalities, surveillance and manipulation mean for our society? At the next event in our Digitaler Salon talk series, we will discuss whether we can still move through the digital space in a self-determined way at all.
| Event registration opens mid August.
Quarterly – 16

Intersectional AI Toolkit | 1 September 2021

How can established queer, anti-racist and feminist ethics and tactics contribute necessary perspectives to digital systems? Our HIIG fellow Sarah Ciston (AI & Society Lab) has developed a zine collection and code library that provides approachable guides to intersectional AI. At the EDIT-A-THON, we will demonstrate and discuss the toolkit. There will be space to explore, edit and expand on it.
| Check out the Edit-a-thon.
Quarterly – 7

Ethics of AI and Big Data | 6 September 2021

The advances of digital technologies in general and artificial intelligence in particular have raised great hopes and deep fears. Expectations of great advances are matched by equally great concerns about threats to civil rights, societal values and democratic freedoms. In our lecture series "Making sense of the digital society", Judith Simon will discuss...
| ...how we can make these technologies more ethical.
Quarterly – 18

AI and the Human | 12 & 13 May 2022

Current debates often conflate the realities of AI technologies with the fictional renditions of what they might one day become. The line between science and fiction is getting blurry: what is already a fact, and what is, at present, just imagination? HIIG and the Japanese-German Center Berlin (JDZB) and Waseda University (Tokyo) invite participants to an international conference on the topic of AI and the human.
| Submit your abstracts and contributions until 20 September 2021.
Quarterly – 8

Beyond HIIG | Events that Caught our Eye

25 – 27 August 2021 | Gamescom | digital event

14 September 2021 | Internet Governance Forum | Katowice, International Congress Center

6 October 2021 | Labora.A | digital event

2 – 4 November 2021 | University:Future Festival | digital event
Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG)
Französische Straße 9, 10117 Berlin, Germany | info@hiig.de
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