Dear friends and fellow researchers,

The current lockdown is boosting online activity; the digital sphere has become a lifeline for many. This means there’s a lot to do for researchers studying the relationship between the internet and society. Our research colleagues have never been busier. Some are asking questions about how Covid-19 is activating the digital society. Others, at HIIG’s Elephant in the Lab journal, have initiated a special issue on science during Covid-19, which is concentrating on the unprecedented challenges to science and higher education. 

At our regular talk series, Digitaler Salon, we discussed how technology and digitalisation can be more sustainable. We encountered another perspective in a post on our Digital Society Blog about what the current AI hype means for the climate and environment and how politicians are reacting to it.

But there is also a reason to celebrate: we just founded the AI & Society Lab, which focuses on interdisciplinary research on AI. Are you working on something that might relate to the lab? We’re looking forward to starting the conversation! 

Stay tuned & stay safe,

Jeanette Hofmann | Björn Scheuermann | Thomas Schildhauer | Wolfgang Schulz



Launch of the AI & Society Lab I New Research Group

How can AI serve the public interest? Aiming to foster innovative research, interdisciplinary exchange and knowledge transfer about artificial intelligence, HIIG inaugurated its AI & Society Lab in early 2020. The lab aims to act as an interface and translator between academia, industry and civil society.

| Get to know the lab’s initiators

The Third Engagement Report

European Science Press Service I Europe-wide News on Science and Research

We’ve just launched the first pan-European portal for research news in the field of internet and society: the European Science Press Service! The service is available free of charge – for both journalists and researchers. The ESPS will further enhance the impact of the European Hub of the Network of Centers.

| Subscribe here for ESPS updates

AI Training for SMEs I Applied Science

Which AI technology fits my business model? How can I upskill myself and my employees and which AI funding programmes can I draw on? Supported by the _Gemeinsam digital project of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, our AI training is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises that are interested in learning about individual, practice-oriented AI technologies. The consultation is free of charge.

I Register now for AI consultation for your SME

Teaching Organisation in Times of Covid-19 I New Research Project

The Covid-19 crisis is a transformative moment that has interrupted teaching overnight. How are teachers dealing with the situation? What teaching innovations are they using? The exploratory study focuses on the social organisation of teaching in this immediate moment of shutdown, but also on the medium- and long-term changes.

Find out more about our cooperation with the Fernuni Hagen


Internet Governance and Content Regulation I Internet Policy Review

What makes consent efficient as a data protection tool? How can proactive screening and data validation prevent abusive content? Volume 9 of HIIG’s Internet Policy Review journal examines these questions at a time when demands for more democratic, transparent and accountable management is becoming entrenched in society.

| Discover the new volume here

Science Fiction and Information Law I Internet Policy Review Special Issue

Sci-fi is a source of inspiration for many legal scholars writing about law, AI, algorithms and robots. Vice versa, law and the invention of rules play a prominent role in more than one science fiction story. This special issue features the winners of the first Institute of Information Law Writing Competition, who tell us about their visions for the role of law in our data-driven future.

| Explore the special issue in the open access journal here

Speech in the digital age | HIIG

Open Science in Times of Covid-19 I Elephant in the Lab

Complex problems involve many variables that influence each other. They cannot be understood from the perspective of a single discipline.” The Covid-19 pandemic is indeed a complex problem. Researchers are leading by example and publishing as fast as they can, sharing code and data across disciplines, to do their part to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

| Read the interview at the HIIG journal Elephant in the Lab

twentyforty is out now! I HIIG Book Launch

The twentyforty anthology is a collection of visions by scholars who have imagined utopias in ways that go beyond their usual research publications. With the rise of AI, VR and data ubiquity, it seems that the biggest changes are still ahead of us. How can society benefit from these technologies?  The stories address the opportunities and challenges that digital technologies will present for society in 2040.

I Find all stories and activities here

'God at Work': Unity in Diversity I HIIG Article

How can organisations cope with growing complexity and diversity? The new head of our Innovation and Entrepreneurship research group, Ali Aslan Gümüsay, offers a practice-oriented solution. In his new publication, co-authored with Michael Smets and Tim Morris, he examines how the first Islamic bank in Germany maintains unity in diversity by forming an elastic hybrid that remains resilient despite contradictory beliefs and values.

| “God at Work”: Engaging Central and Incompatible Institutional Logics through Elastic Hybridity

digital macht stadt – Visionen der vernetzten Stadt

International Law and the Internet I Call for Papers

What role does international law play on the internet? And how have the internet and its platforms and multi-stakeholder approaches to law-making influenced international law? As co-editor of the special issue of the Heidelberg Journal of International Law, our associated researcher Matthias C. Kettemann has issued a call for papers that is open until 10 May.

| Find more information here


eScooters and the Climate Crisis

Can digitalisation help us to deal with the climate crisis or has digitalisation itself become part of the problem? What will the future of mobility look like? Tune in and stay up to date with the current variety of opinions on pressing questions in the digital age. Our Digitaler Salon podcast is available on iTunes and Spotify.

| Listen to the latest episode

Music Industry in the Digital Age

“At the core of music-related brand strategies there is the wish of big industry players to produce momentum, a kind of visibility in motion for the brand”: In our latest episode, Lorenz Grünewald-Schukalla talks about the new power relations that are shaping the music industry. Have you missed any episodes of the Exploring Digital Spheres Podcast? No problem, all of them are still available online on iTunes and Spotify.

| Check out the complete series on our website


Until further notice, our events will take place exclusively online as livestreams. We invite everybody to interact and ask questions via Slido!

Crises of digital capitalism | 27 April 2020

Leading digital companies are assuming a key position for large parts of the economy. At the present time, when the acute crisis of public health is about to turn into a socio-economic crisis of the global economy, it is therefore necessary to ask: What is digital capitalism? 

| Join our next academic lecture with Philipp Staab

Digitaler Salon | 29 April 2020

Can we overcome social distance by seeking more proximity online? Or are we missing physical closeness more than we want to admit? In our discussion series, we highlight network phenomena and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of technical changes. 

I Find out more about our next Digitaler Salon

twentyforty talks | 19 Mai 2020

Burkhard Schafer's play “Digital Pharaohs” depicts a society where people train AIs in the hope that these “legacy AIs” can, after the death of their owner, give guidance and help to the next generation(s). Our researcher Bronwen Deacon will talk to the author about his inspiration for this project. 

 I Tune in to our next talk with Burkhard Schafer

Beyond HIIG | Events that caught our eye

9 May I 
Women's Coding Day I Berlin, Online workshop 

29-30 May I Disruption Network Lab Conference I Berlin, TBA

14–19 June | CVPR 2020 | Seattle, TBA


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