Dear friends and fellow researchers,

In times like these, dystopias are easy to invent. But little by little, we can see changes both in individual decision-making as well as in grand visions, in civil society as well as in science. 

In the run-up to the US presidential election, HIIG’s open access journal Internet Policy Review has released a special issue on data-driven elections. It shows that digital communication by means of big data and political micro-targeting is at the heart of our societal order. This also applies to the moderation of information on social media platforms. For the first time now, Facebook has given scientists direct access to internal policy-making processes. Our researchers examined and watched the processes live and published their pilot study on Facebook’s norm-making system.

When there is a transformation in broader knowledge and perspectives, science itself also changes. In this newsletter you will also read about what researchers ask themselves, from responsible innovation to digital utopias

Stay in touch with us, and if you would like to read more, we just published encore – the entirety of HIIG’s research output from 2019! 

Jeanette Hofmann | Björn Scheuermann | Thomas Schildhauer | Wolfgang Schulz


Platform Governance and Copyright | New Horizon 2020 project

Every day, services like YouTube and Facebook examine, monetise and remove very much content on the grounds of their guidelines. HIIG now researches the role of social media platforms in the implementation of copyright law and its impact on cultural diversity. Does article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive massively reduce the availability of diverse content?

| Take a closer look at this research project here

The Third Engagement Report

The Third Engagement Report | Submitted! 

This time, the report on civic engagement focuses on “The Future of Civil Society: Young Engagement in the Digital Age”, and was submitted to the BMFSFJ. The German government uses the report to focus its engagement strategy. For this reporting period the HIIG hosted the project office and facilitated the research collaboration with the report’s commission. The team collected inputs from many active stakeholders.

| More on the report, the commission and statements here

twentyforty – Utopias for a digital society

What will our digital society look like in 2040? This was the question we posed to researchers in the essay competition “twentyforty – Utopias for a digital society”, initiated by HIIG together with the Global Network of Internet Society Research Centers (NoC) in the summer of 2019. The resulting volume will be published open access on 18 March 2020, followed by events, teaching formats, a travelling exhibition and more. 

| Better to live in the future than the past – twentyforty will be launched here

Gemeinsam digital

Applied science | AI training

How can you use AI for your business? In an in-depth workshop taking place from 19 to 21 February, our AI trainers at _Gemeinsam digital will prepare small and medium-sized companies for the concrete implementation of AI measures.The competence centre offers ongoing events, workshops and tailored support in the field of AI, digital business models, collaboration and digital learning. 

| Register now for your digital future


Data-driven elections | Internet Policy Review's tenth special issue

Can elections be won or lost on the basis of data on the electorate? To what extent do major social media platforms have an impact on electoral behavior? Internet Policy Review launched its tenth special issue on “Data-driven elections: implications and challenges for democratic societies”, just in time for the run-up to the US presidential election. 

| Read the entire issue in the open access journal here

The new paradigm of responsible innovation | Elephant in the Lab

René von Schomberg has a vision for responsible research and innovation, whereby innovation policy shall become value-driven and responsive to public values rather than to be detached from them. “We can not leave it up to market-mechanisms,” he says, but this would be the biggest challenge. Schomberg is a science and technology studies specialist and a philosopher.

| Read the interview and more recent articles on critical thoughts on science here

Speech in the digital age | HIIG

Open access futures | HIIG Blog 

The future of the scientific publication system seems clear-cut: it’s open access all the way. But HIIG researcher Marcel Wrzesinski warns us that in the current ecosphere of open access publishing, scholar-led journals were an endangered species. Very few sustainable financing models exist, and long-term scholar-led publishing is almost designed to fail. This article gathers innovative solutions.

| Open access futures: time to push for scholar-led publishing

Digital feminism? | Many Worlds, Many Nets, Many Visions

Is the internet still a space in which total equality is possible? Has it ever been? This publication by Katharina Mosene and Matthias C. Kettemann follows up on a vision for a web without privilege or prejudice. It was discussed in the context of the Internet Governance Forum 2019, and especially takes into account humanistic and feminist perspectives. 

| Many Worlds, Many Nets, Many Visions – Critical Voices, Visions and Vectors for Internet Governance

All in? | The global digital economy 

While the number of internet users has grown rapidly in recent years, they are unevenly distributed across geographies. We still have to speak of “digital divides”. Does digital entrepreneurship change or reaffirm the status quo of unevenness? Our researcher Nicolas Friederici studies digital entrepreneurship and innovation in the global south, among other things. In this publication he looks at digitisation and equality.

The global digital economy: worsening inequality vs. pockets of innovation


History of digitisation | 13 February 2020

For Sibylle Krämer, digitisation is not inseparably linked to computer technology. It is part of a much older cultural history, namely the first symbols and signs. Tomorrow we will begin the third season of our lecture series Making Sense of the Digital Society and listen to Krämer’s interesting approach to the "Cultural history of digitisation"Last year we welcomed popular speakers like Eva Illouz or Manuel Castells. 

| Register for this event

digital macht stadt – Visionen der vernetzten Stadt

Networked city | 20 February 2020

What visions and narratives shape current smart city technologies? And how does a networked city affect our social relationships? On 20 February we invite you to a panel discussion on the technological transformation of cities at HIIG – "Visions for the networked city". The journalist Benjamin Knödler (Der Freitag) will speak with stakeholders from academia and public administration. 

Find out more about the event

Faster, harder, e-scooter? | 26 February 2020

Over the last few months, e-scooters have caused both great joy and traffic chaos. What does this new type of mobility mean for our cities? At the next session of Digitaler Salonwe will discuss how our cities change as e-mobility services like car-sharing, bike-sharing and the availability of e-scooters increase. Our panelists will discuss why we hand over public space to private companies and what actually happens to our movement data.

| Find out more about the event

Beyond HIIG | Events that caught our eye

7 March 2020 | Open Data Day | worldwide

12–13 March 2020 | The Future of Online Discussions – #FoOD2020? | House of the University, Düsseldorf

12–18 March 2020 | Practicing Sovereignty: Means of digital involvement | designtransfer, Berlin


Digitaler Salon | Podcast out, now!

You would prefer to stay home and listen? No problem! Digitaler Salon has a podcast, too. Tune in and stay up to date on the current variety of opinions on pressing questions in the digital age. And if you’re feeling talkative, participate in the discussion via Twitter. Recently, we talked about (im)mortality on the web, about love and sex with robots and we pondered whether Facebook could ever belong to its users. 

| Listen on hiig.deiTunesSpotify or Deezer

Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG)
Französische Straße 9, 10117 Berlin | info@hiig.de