European Hub for Internet and Society launched

European Hub for Internet and Society Research launched

  • Representatives of 15 European internet research institutes are launching a hub for scientific exchange and cooperation in Europe. The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) is developing the research platform and will be coordinating the cooperation for the first two years.
  • HIIG Director Wolfgang Schulz: “The European Hub within the Global Network of Centers for Internet and Society will strengthen European internet research. European research traditions and theories will be able to make an even bigger contribution to our understanding of the digital society”

Berlin, 20 October 2017 – The Alexander von Humboldt Institut for Internet and Society (HIIG) and European internet research institutes are launching the European Hub to support scientific discussion and cooperation between internet researchers in Europe. During a roundtable in Berlin, internet researchers from Europe decided to cooperate more closely on research projects, science transfer and events.

15 representatives of European research institutes of the Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers (NoC), including the Institute for Information Law (Amsterdam), the Nexa Center for Internet & Society (Turin) and the Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire Internet et Société (Paris), discussed, among other things, how to strengthen European cooperation and the international visibility of European internet research. “The European Hub within the Global Network of Centers for Internet and Society will strengthen European internet research. European cooperation on internet and society research is one of the hub’s key concerns, as is the opportunity to leverage synergies between research projects. European research traditions and theories will be able to make an even bigger contribution to our understanding of the digital society”, says Wolfgang Schulz, director of HIIG. He adds: “We at HIIG are pleased to support this process”.

In addition to the Digital Asia Hub, a think tank on internet and society research founded in 2015 and based in Hong Kong, HIIG is now launching a platform to coordinate internet research centers in the whole of Europe. At the heart of the hub’s work is independent and interdisciplinary research about the opportunities and challenges of digital technology, innovation and European society. HIIG will be coordinating and leading the hub for the first two years. The first steps for the newly founded European Hub will be to create a common European research agenda, regional workshops and conferences as well as developing guidelines and ethical standards for internet research.

The first common research focus during the next months will be the topic of “artificial intelligence”. Some first steps have already been taken to facilitate exchange between outstanding researchers on the effects of “artificial intelligence” on human rights: HIIG and the Hans-Bredow-Institute for Media Research (HBI) organised the workshop Algorithmic Decision Making and its Human Rights Implications. Algorithms and the “Internet of Things” directly influence human behaviour both online and offline. The workshop showed – with examples ranging from expert systems in job agencies to the digital arms race – the importance of different disciplines working together to research those phenomena. Here, the focus should not only be on technology but also on the political, social and economic contexts. The narratives and terms we use to understand the application of “artificial intelligence” are of growing importance for exchange between different disciplines.

As a founding member of the Global Network of Internet & Society Research Centers, HIIG is working together with leading academic institutions and groups to generate and share knowledge on an international level.

Further information: About the NoC: http://networkofcenters.net, HIIG: https://www.hiig.de/ and the AI & Ethics Workshop: https://www.hiig.de/en/events/algorithmische-entscheidungen-und-deren-menschenrechtliche-auswirkungen/

Press contact: Florian Lüdtke | phone: +49 30 200 760 82 | presse|a|hiig.de 

 

About the Network of Centers

The Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers (NoC) was launched by a group of academic centers – including the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) – in 2012 in recognition of the lack of internationally coordinated research and engagement activities in issues concerning the Internet and related technologies. The NoC is a collaborative initiative among academic institutions with a focus on interdisciplinary research on the development, social impact, policy implications, and legal issues concerning the Internet. This collective aims to increase interoperability between participating centers in order to stimulate the creation of new cross-national, cross-disciplinary conversation, debate, teaching, learning, and engagement regarding the most pressing questions around new technologies, social change, and related policy and regulatory developments. More information can be found at http://networkofcenters.net/about.

About HIIG

The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) explores the dynamic interplay between the internet and society in the digital age, including the increasing interactions between digital infrastructures and various domains of everyday life. Its goal is to understand the interplay of socio-cultural, legal, economic and technical norms in the process of digitisation. It serves as a forum for researchers on internet and society and encourages the collaborative development of projects, applications and research networks on the national and international level.

HIIG was founded in 2011 by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the University of the Arts Berlin and the Social Science Research Center Berlin, in alliance with the Hans-Bredow Institute for Media Research in Hamburg as an integrated co-operation partner. The research directors of the institute are Prof. Dr. Jeanette Hofmann, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ingolf Pernice, Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Schildhauer and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulz.

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