Podcast header: Exploring digital spheres – a rocket on an expedition into the digital universe

Exploring digital spheres – a podcast by HIIG

Listen to our brand-new podcast on the digital society!

Come with us on a journey into the realms of the digital: In the podcast Exploring digital spheres you will get to know HIIG researchers from diverse disciplines. We ask them, how our digital society works and what the future might look like. Every other episode, the researchers will enter into a dialogue with other digital mavericks! Please leave a comment on iTunes.


The most recent episode is in German. All other episodes are in English.

All about our digital society

This is Exploring Digital Spheres, a brand new podcast produced by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. We are very excited to announce this podcast all about our digital society.

We find ourselves surrounded by buzzwords like Big Data, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence and it becomes ever more difficult to understand the world that we are currently building. Together with Wouter Bernhardt we will be diving deep into a world of coding, rating, nudging and filtering. We will be asking questions on how our digital society works and what the future might look like.

In our first episode, Rike Maier introduces us to remixes on plattforms like Youtube and what upload filter do to the internet as we know it. Amelie Heldt and Clara Iglesias Keller discussed fake news during times of election campaigns. In the third episode, HIIG director Björn Scheuermann talks about his personal engagement as a computer scientists in explaining what algorithms are and what computer scientists really do. Nick Couldry discusses his concept data colonialism in the fourth episode coming up on 18 December. Another of our guests is Martin Riedl, fellow at HIIG researching the consequences of working as a content moderator. He ask: What does it mean if we create a very clean version of the internet? And what are the effects?

All this and more, every second week on itunes, spotify and hiig.de.

All episodes


Inside I: Filtered away

A conversation with Rike Maier on the use and mis-use of remixes on the internet. How does one regulate the immeasurable amount of material uploaded every minute and do filters do a good job of keeping copyright infringements at bay?

Outside I: Fake news and elections

Amélie Heldt speaks with Clara Iglesias Keller about the regulation of fake news in times of election campaigns. Both have been analyzing recent examples such as new preliminary injunction procedures or data protection rules. Clara explains how publicly accessible phone numbers on Facebook have allegedly been used during the 2018 presidential elections in Brazil to spread fake news and political propaganda through WhatsApp. Furthermore, the two speak about the dissemination of false information in social media, the set of problems regarding information manipulation during the elections in France and the United States, possible countermeasures and much more.

Inside II: Rithm of algo

In this episode, Wouter dives deeper into the universe of algorithms in order to clean up the mess of buzz words we are confronted with on a daily basis. Did you also wonder why certain videos pop up in your timeline that seem most unlikely you ever wanted to see them? How do computers recognise objects and animals on photos? In an insightful conversation with Wouter, HIIG director Björn Scheuermann tells us about his research as a computer scientist and in how far he trusts algorithm based machines.

Outside II: Are we colonised by data?

Nick Couldry, professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), visited us in Berlin for his lecture "Colonised by data". HIIG researcher Thomas Christian Bächle met with Couldry – who once was his professor at Goldsmiths College in London eleven years ago – for a talk on the digital society. In this episode, we learn about Couldry's very own media rituals – celebrity spotting and falling asleep to the radio news – as well as how a media professor is dealing with knowing what kind of personal data WhatsApp is collecting. Also: What exactly is data colonialism? How is it different from concepts such as surveillance capitalism (Zuboff, 2018) or data capitalism?

Inside III: Squeak-clean internet

Wouter met Martin Riedl in the middle of Berlin to discuss how platforms keep the internet "clean" from undesirable content – but what is undesirable? And what does it mean for moderators when they click through thousand of graphic images?

Outside III: Bad content, good content

Often we don't see the same content on the internet as others do. Julia Krüger, an editor for Netzpolitik.org and assistant to a German member of parliament, is deeply convinced that we need to create alternative moderation schemes to uphold liberal values. Together with HIIG-researcher Amélie Heldt, she discusses the different methods of moderation, the role of AI yet to come, and what she personally hopes for.

Inside IV: Smart bureaucracy

Christian Djeffal talks about how artificial intelligence can help public administrations cut costs and resources, and re-allocate them to be of better service to its citizens.

Outside IV: I, just extraordinary (in German)

Andreas Reckwitz and Thomas Christian Bächle discuss singularity in the internet society.

NEXT: Inside IV: Jessica Schmeiss on AI and entrepreneurship in Germany

Coming up on 5 March 2019 on iTunes, Spotify and hiig.de

About the podcast

Exploring digital spheres is a science transfer format of the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG).

The podcast is produced in cooperation with Wouter Bernhardt (Berlinology) and Philip Meier (HIIG & Hashtagdigital).

Any feedback and questions?

Contact our team here.

About HIIG

The HIIG researches the development of the internet from a societal perspective with the aim to better understand the digitalisation of all spheres of life.

HIIG Journals

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