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DIGITAL SOCIETY BLOG

Making sense of our connected world

DIGITAL SOCIETY BLOG

Making sense of our connected world

Latest articles

Germany: Hidden Champion of Online Platform Work?

Online freelancing is booming, not only in Germany. A new research hub at the University of Oxford shows how relevant the online gig-economy has become.

The Case of Nature: Digital Ecocide – How do digital tech companies get away with unsustainable behavior?

Digital tech companies and global digitalization trends are adding to the existing pressures on our natural environment on several ways. In fact, all six Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that relate to ecological sustainability are impacted by the digital tech industry.

It’s a match! Or racism?

No technology is neutral. Dating apps like Tinder and Grindr can perpetuate stereotypical assumptions about sexual preferences and reinforce a racist flirting culture. Can the law intervene?

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Myth: AI will save us from climate change

AI provides powerful tools to tackle climate change in various applications – but it is not a silver bullet. It can support the mitigation of climate change, for instance, by…

“Just start, because the timing is always wrong”

Artificial intelligence (AI) is only something for large corporations? The public perception often assumes this. But small and medium-sized enterprises can also benefit from AI.

When Online Research Can Do Harm

While research ethics are a core component to all social research, digital ethnography poses an additional set of unique challenges that must be addressed while researching vulnerable populations, but still advice for digital ethnographers in terms of the ethical dilemmas of researching and marketing to vulnerable populations online is scarce.

Caught in the jungle of bureaucracy? Can European Platform Entrepreneurship succeed?

In the ongoing regulatory debate on digital platform businesses, European platform companies are often bypassed. Whenever there is a public debate on European platforms, the underlying discussion revolves around questions like: Why don’t we have a ‘European Google or Facebook’? Why don’t we compete globally in tech? Yet, platform businesses come in many shapes and sizes.

One Council to Rule Them All: Can Social Media Become More Democratic?

Parliaments set the rules for democracies. Platforms rule their private online spaces. But as online spaces become ever more important for democratic discourse, we ask ourselves: Can we make platforms…

Myth: AI treats everyone equally and makes predictions fairly

Algorithmic power is accumulated at the hands of data companies that re-enforce new colonial dynamics.

Myth: AI is disrupting knowledge work

Recently, applications based on machine learning have made enormous progress and can now take over tasks such as translations, document search or image recognition.

SMEs and AI-Startups: How to keep track

HIIG has been supporting the Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Centre Berlin in the _Gemeinsam digital project as a consortium partner since 2016. We report from the AI company delegations: Which AI…

Myth: AI understands me, but I can’t understand it

Everyone can and should understand how AI works, so that—rather than be intimidated or misled by algorithmic decision-making—we can contribute multiple perspectives to designing and implementing the systems that impact us all differently.

When your next sex date is only zero feet away. Geolocal technology and gay male online dating with the app Grindr in Berlin (Part 1)

How does the search for non-committal sex inscribe itself into daily routines that homosexual men use to shape their lives in Berlin? For the Digital Society Blog, the author presents various central theses from his research in a two-part blog series. Part 1 of the series first introduces readers to the world of gay online sex dating and then contextualises it with four findings from the local use of the app in Berlin.

Myth: AI algorithms decide what you see online

There’s more than one myth about algorithmic visibility regimes: one posits that AI algorithms are tools used unilaterally by corporations to control what we see; the other argues that these algorithms are mere mirrors, and we are the ones who control what we see online.

Why we need fewer men in computer science

There have been calls for more women in computer science for decades, but so far nothing has changed. Therefore, we claim that it is time to invert the call: we need fewer men in computer science! And here’s why.

Myth: AI will end discrimination

We approach the de-mystification of this claim by looking at concrete examples of how AI (re)produces inequalities and connect those to several aspects which help to illustrate socio-technical entanglements.

Siri’s evil sister. When the Dutch public service steals your data

“System Risk Indication” (SyRI) deployed by the dutch government for automatically detecting social benefit fraud. The program was shut down due to a severe lack in transparency and unproportional collection of data. This demonstrates how automating public services fails, when not properly implemented.

Myth: AI will kill us all!

AI won’t kill us in the form of a time-travelling humanoid robot with an Austrian accent. But: AI is used in various military applications – supporting new concepts of command…

Myth: What you do with AI in the bedroom is your own thing

More and more AI systems are being used as personal assistants, also in the bedroom and for sexual purposes. Sex robotics adopt AI systems for making sex robots interactive. While…

Why, AI? – A new Online Learning Space

Everyone talks about AI. But how does it change society? How can we use it to help society? For that, we need to understand how AI works and how we can make it work for us. This is why we have put together the free and open online learning space “Why, AI”.

Man with a lot of post its on his face

Working from Home but Never Alone: Why People Analytics Have to Be Designed with the Employee in Mind

Remote working challenges management, employees and works councils alike. People analytics could offer support, but only if the software is designed with the employees’ well-being and privacy in mind.

We need to talk about data – New report reframes the debate around data sovereignty

The dueling slogans: “free flow of data” and “data sovereignty” actually prevent seriously addressing the complex challenges of cross-border data flows. A report, released this week by the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, reframes the debate to foster a more nuanced approach of this critical topic for the digital society.

You can only be what you can see: How platforms and advertisers can make job ads algorithms fairer

We successfully concluded the first virtual Clinic of the Ethics of Digitilisation project financed by Stiftung Mercator. Twelve international fellows developed innovative approaches to improving fairness in targeted job advertising. Looking back at two intense weeks of interdisciplinary collaboration, we share highlights and key outcomes.

Trump’s social media ban: Reviewing the constitutionality of permanent digital punishment

Trump’s ban from social media, while gaining significant media attention, does not represent an isolated case. Preventing individuals from accessing social media platforms or parts of them is a common phenomenon today that we can call ‘social media exclusion’.