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Algorithmic decisions and human rights

Who is responsible if an autonomous vehicle is involved in an accident? What are the consequences of automated profiling of the unemployed? How intelligent is our use of artificial intelligence, and what visions and strategies do we need for the future? Innovations in the field of artificial intelligence are impacting nearly every area of our everyday life. However, algorithmic decision-making leads to complex human rights implications. In this dossier researchers of the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society and the NoC European Hub discuss the role of law and ethics in the context of algorithmic decision-making.

HIIG Expertise

Amelié Heldt at the Center for Cyber Law & Policy

AI and challenges to democratic deliberation

Wolfgang Schulz: protecting human rights online

New guidelines on internet intermediaries

Jeanette Hofmann at the German Federal Council

AI – benefit or danger for free opinion formation and democracy?

Blog articles

ai imaginaries

“I miss imaginaries that spell out ideas of AI as a public good”

Christian Katzenbach recently worked with his colleague Jascha Bareis on a project that compared the strategies of various countries such as France, the US and China to partake in a…

autonomous cars

Killer cars? Autonomous vehicles and criminal liability

Who is criminally responsible when an autonomous car is involved in a car accident such as the accident in Arizona? The immediate suspects include: the user, the software company, the…

How (un-)intelligent is our collaboration with AI?

Discussing whether a machine is intelligent is relevant, but more urgent is the question whether our collaborations with machines are intelligent. An intelligent collaboration with Artificial Intelligence (AI) requires complementary…

AI-infused decisions: “and a spoonful of dignity”

AI has the potential to make decisions and optimise processes – for example in medical treatments. But the new kind of AI-infused decision making works in obscure ways and we…

The key challenges of social robots

What are the key ethical, legal and social (ELS) issues of social robots? How can these challenges be addressed? To answer these questions, Christoph Lutz conducted with two research colleagues…

Harnessing Artificial Intelligence the European Way

Will 10 April 2018 be remembered by many as the day of Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before the US Senate? The hearing was covered by the media in all aspects down…

Understanding Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is a controversial and much-discussed topic of our digital future. Aljoscha Burchardt sees a huge gap between the machines of today, which are able to act intelligently, and the…

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Algorithmic decision making and human rights

Embedded in smart technologies, algorithms are taking decisions on a daily basis. What challenges arise from algorithmic decision making for human rights and for the regulation of artificial intelligence? In…

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Can a black box be trusted?

Does our life really improve with algorithmic decision-making? Big Data-based models often reflect our very own biases of society. Further, in some cases it can be hard to look into…

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Profiling the unemployed

Since 2014, job centres in Poland have been using an algorithmic decision-making system to categorize unemployed people and allocated different types of assistance. In the context of the global financial…

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Mind-tracking and the new transparent self

Have you ever wanted to monitor your steps, heart rate, sleep, or body temperature? Nowadays, we can choose from an incredible variety of wearable devices. If you aim to move…

Selected publications

The Turn to Artificial Intelligence in Governing Communication Online

Presently, we are witnessing an intense debate about technological advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) research and its deployment in various societal domains and contexts. In this context, media and communications is one of the most prominent and contested fields. Bots, voice assistants, automated (fake) news generation, content moderation and filtering – all of these are examples of how AI and machine learning are transforming the dynamics and order of digital communication.

Sustainable Development of Artificial Intelligence (SAID)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing our lives. However, it seems to be a solution and a problem at the same time. In order to understand opportunities and risks, to evaluate promises and warnings, we should ask the right questions and choose the right frame of analysis. It is time to think and talk about AI in terms of sustainable development.

Artificial Intelligence at a Crossroads

There are many ethical and legal issues coming across in the context of AI. As a society we need to decide how we want to design our AI and how we can ensure them to be inherently fair and explainable. Specifically in the case of autonomous vehicles the development of a consensual ethical and legal framework is of great urgency. When it comes to possible legal responses, the policy-makers have to take into account that there are applications specific issues as well as cross cutting challenges that need to be addressed.

HIIG Podcast


Further Videos

Digitaler Salon (in German)

Algorithms and ethics

Making sense of the digital society

Elena Esposito: Future and uncertainty

Jeanette Hofmann at re:publica (in German)

Fundamental rights for the digital age