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Issues in Focus

Digital Ethics

Whether civil society, politics or science – everyone seems to agree that the New Twenties will be characterised by digitalisation. But what about the tension of digital ethics? How do we create a digital transformation involving society as a whole, including people who either do not have the financial means or the necessary know-how to benefit from digitalisation?  And what do these comprehensive changes in our actions mean for democracy? In this dossier we want to address these questions and offer food for thought on how we can use digitalisation for the common good.

FAQ

How do we define digital ethics in the context of our research?

Ethics are strongly influenced by regional, historical and cultural characteristics. This must be taken into account in an ethics-led digitalisation: There is no one solution that works for everyone and everything. One approach that repeatedly meets with approval is the focus on human rights. These have been recognised by many states and can be understood as global ethical minimum standards.

Why do we have to think about ethics and digitalisation together?

Digitalisation is a process that changes entire societies, and societies are also held together by ethical principles. These change over time and still provide societies with a foundation on which to live together and cohesion can be built. In addition to steering and limiting digitalisation through ethical principles, however, these principles must also be adapted to the new conditions of a digitalised society.

What would our digital world look like without ethics?

Digitalisation guided by ethical principles has a counterpart: digitalisation driven purely by individual interests. These can be the interests of states (e.g. security policy) or corporations (profit maximisation). The associated problems are far-reaching: online platforms with hate messages and false news, former colonial states in strong digital dependency, non-transparent algorithmic decisions that reinforce stereotypes or states that extensively censor and monitor the digital.

Videos from the HIIG cosmos

lecture series

Judith Simon: The ethics of AI and Big Data

In our making sense of the digital society lecture series, Judith Simon discusses whether there is a universal ethic for AI systems and Big Data that works on a global scale.

Monthly Talk

Cookies make you lose control

Laziness vs. loss of control: Who still reads through cookies, GTCs and GDPRs? In our Digitaler Salon we talk about self-determination & privacy online.

Open Talk series

algorithms for common good

In this Open Talk edition, Julia Gundlach talks about how algorithmic systems can help make the distribution of daycare places more efficient and fair.

 

Blog articles on the topic od digital ethics

You can see a group of people from above doing lessons online. It symoblises digital teaching/digitale Lehre.

Sharing knowledge: Impact of Covid-19 on digital teaching

How can we address the many inequalities in access to digital resources and lack of digital skills that were revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Titelbild Blogbeitrag Explainable AI

Explaining AI – How to explain the unexplainable?

Complex automated decision making systems have become ubiquitous in our everyday lives. Should we even care to understand how AI-based decisions are made?

Man sieht die afrikanischen Kontinent auf einem Datenchip eingraviert / One sees the African continent engraved on a data chip

Towards an African Narrative on Digital Sovereignty

How can an African perspective help us reframe our view of digital sovereignty? We shed light on economic independence in the digital economy and how states need to become aware...

Banner zum Blogbeitrag: explainable AI

Why explainable AI needs such a thing as Society

Explainable AI (XAI) frameworks focus strongly on individual interests, while a societal perspective falls short. The solution? An incorporation of collective interests in target group specific communication.

Titelbild für den Blogbeitrag. Zu sehen ist ein Publikum von hinten fotografiert. Sie hören einem Vortrag zu.

Ethics of digitalisation: dialogue, participation & visions

What visions do we need to implement so that an ethics-led digitalisation of our society works for everyone? We take stock.

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....

Making Technology Great Again: How to Use Ethics to Save Digitalisation

Can your refrigerator order milk for you but refuse to give you a second ice cream? Should your self-driven car drive with you into a tree instead of over a…

Digital Social Innovation: from efficiency to effectiveness in digitalisation

How can technology help organisations to more effectively tackle societal challenges? In this article we introduce the concept of effectiveness in digitalisation, which, we believe, is key to any digitalisation…

Birds view of "resist" written by people gathering on a beach

Critical Voices, Visions and Vectors for Internet Governance

The Internet has changed our world. But has it also irritated hierarchical power structures and given a meaningful voice to all? Are offline differentials in terms of access to individual…

Global AI race: States aiming for the top

There hardly exists a buzzword today that fires everybody‘s imagination in the tech world like “artificial intelligence” (AI). But not only giants like Google, Facebook, Baidu or Alibaba are trying…

Algorithmische Entscheidungen und Menschenrechte

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…