Dear friends and fellow researchers,

Winter is coming! With all the virtual mosaic-meetings and a fond farewell to the warm season, the last quarter of 2020 is not yet the time to hibernate. For us, this year is all about new beginnings – we’ve created an exhibition for our book project twentyforty, we’ve launched new, innovative event formats with our AI & Society Lab and were invited to the Bellevue Palace for the first time with the Ethics of Digitalisation project. In the last months, our institute’s activities have been running full speed ahead! Also, our newsletter got a new coat of paint, proudly highlighting the workflows of our researchers and projects. 

Stay safe and optimistic,

Jeanette Hofmann  |  Wolfgang Schulz  |  Björn Scheuermann  |  Thomas Schildhauer


Project Updates | Ethics of Digitalisation – from Principles to Practices


What are the criteria according to which chat bots should be programmed to communicate without discrimination? What rules must apply in the development of artificial intelligence so that AI applications serve the common good? In our interdisciplinary project “The ethics of digitalisation” we work together with international partner institutions to develop solutions that support practical applications and dialogue at the intersection of science, politics, digital economy and civil society.

Within the framework of the project’s first virtual research sprint, thirteen international researchers from various disciplines came together to tackle the challenges posed by automation in content moderation. Their work resulted in policy briefings focused on algorithmic audits and on increasing the transparency and accountability of automated content moderation systems.

During the project, further research sprints will facilitate the work on exciting topics. Stay tuned and learn more about our fellows and their work.

| AI and content moderation: Join the closing event of the 1st research sprint on 11 November!

Research Focus | Artificial Intelligence and the Society

With the AI & Society Lab, we created an interdisciplinary research laboratory to foster dialogue between academia, industry and society. It has so far focused on two main activities:

At the “AI & Society Lab Roundtables” we aim to bring together different positions and interest groups to examine questions such as: AI and climate – (how) do they fit together? How are minorities affected by discriminatory/biased AI? What are the challenges for female developers? These Roundtables are organised in cooperation with the Representation of the European Commission in Germany.

The “AI & Society Lab Pop-up Labs” offer an experimental space for new formats to advance knowledge generation and knowledge transfer on AI. Together with our partners, we develop innovative research designs that enable a practical and interactive communication process. During the first Pop-Up Lab an interdisciplinary team of researchers tackled pressing issues regarding the inclusiveness of AI and the challenges of automated tools in human resources management (HR).

We’ve got the funding commitment for two big, upcoming projects: The new Public Interest & AI researchers’ group as well as the three-year study Shaping AI which will explore the formation of 21st century AI in media discourse, policy and tech development, with partner institutions in Canada, France and Great Britain are about to get started – stay tuned!

| Would you like to contribute to our research activities? Check out our open positions!

Digital Engagement

Digital Society

Rebels with a Cause

Online petitions and hashtag campaigns instead of signature collections and sit-in blockades? What might civil society involvement look like in times of digitalization? Our recently launched portrait series “Jung. Digital. Engagiert“ presents examples.

The Future of Civil Society

The exemplary protagonists of our “Jung.Digital.Engagiert” project represent a very large crowd! As the recently published Third Engagement Report shows: almost half of all young adults are digitally engaged and use the internet and digital media for their charitable work! Stay tuned: a series of events have been planned to promote the results in 2020 and 2021.

Calls | Get Involved

Are you fascinated by questions revolving around the internet and society? Our institute provides a dynamic environment for both early career and advanced researchers with new ideas. Apply for our Virtual Fellowship Programme until 22 November!

How is science informed by popular discursive images of AI? We welcome contributions from scholars of diverse disciplines for our Japanese-German Conference on AI and the Human – Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Science and Fiction in 2021.

Do you want to transform your company digitally? Take advantage of the free Q&A session on questions concerning digitalisation in SMEs, which we offer with the competence center _Gemeinsam digital on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. Our trainers will discuss the technological challenges in your company’s day-to-day operations.

Bookshelf | Latest publications

• Security in Cyberspace: Dynamics, Limits and Opportunities | Bruna Toso de Alcântara et al. 

• Datification and new ways of working | Shirley Ogolla and Hendrik Send

• The return to science at the turn of modernityJayat Joshi

• Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa | Nicolas Friederici et al. 

• Geopolitics, jurisdiction and surveillance | Internet Policy Review Special Issue

Good News Alert | Applause

How do we close the digital gender gap? Can we use people analytics in the interest of employees? With her idea pitch at LABOR.A® HIIG researcher Sonja Köhne won first place.

“Organising in Times of Crisis: The Case of Covid-19” is a winner of the prestigious “Ideas Worth Teaching Awards“. Our researcher Ali Aslan Gümüsay contributed with two classes.

Beyond HIIG | Events that Caught our Eye

19 November I Frankfurter Kolloquium I Online Lecture

23 November I The Norms of the Internet I Online Book Launch

23-24 February | digitainable forum | Online Conference

From now on the events at HIIG will take place exclusively online. Curious? You can subscribe to our event newsletter here.

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