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The Ethics of Digitalisation – From Principles to Practices

According to which criteria must chat bots be programmed to communicate without discrimination? What rules must apply when programming AI so that they serve the good of all? How do we design the algorithms that shape our society?

The international research project "Ethics of Digitalisation - From Principles to Practices" aims to develop groundbreaking answers to challenges in the area of conflict between ethics and digitalisation. Innovative scientific formats, research sprints and clinics, form the core of the project; they enable interdisciplinary scientific work on application-, and practice-oriented questions and achieve outputs of high societal relevance and impact.

The project promotes active exchange at the interface of science, politics and society and thus contributes to a global dialogue on an ethics of digitalisation.

 

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SPRINTS AND CLINICS OF THE PROJECT

AI and Content Moderation – Research Sprint

Algorithmic moderation of content on platforms raises many questions, for example: Do algorithms crack down on legitimate expression too much, or do they fail more to limit hateful content on their pages? This sprint explored where the boundaries between hate speech and free expression lie. It also worked out how policymakers can ensure an appropriate level of transparency and accountability in platforms' algorithmic content moderation processes. .

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Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society

August until October 2020

SIDE EVENTS OF THE PROJECT

Kick-off event at Bellevue Palace

To launch the project, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier invited national and international experts from science, politics, business and civil society to a conference at Bellevue Palace. The focus of the conference was on ethical questions of digitalisation, such as the functioning of artificial intelligence and algorithms.

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Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft

August 2020

Project Partners

Project partners include HIIG, the Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut, the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University and the Digital Asia Hub.

The project is funded by Stiftung Mercator. The Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier is patron of this project.

Duration07/2020 - 06/2022
FundingStiftung Mercator

Contact

Nadine Birner

Coordinator (on leave): The ethics of digitalisation | NoC

The international and interdisciplinary research project is a joint initiative of the Global Network of Internet and Society Research Center (NoC).

More articles in our dossier

Man sieht in Leuchtschrift das Wort "Ethical"

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.

Discover all 11 articles

Media reception

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier invites to the launch of an international research project "Ethics of Digitisation" at Bellevue Castle. The launch conference on August 17 will focus on ethical questions of digitization, for example in the functioning of artificial intelligence and algorithms, according to the Office of the Federal President.

Deutschlandfunk Kultur

In the 3sat program Scobel, Research Director Prof. Wolfgang Schulz speaks on the topic "Ethics for the Digital" (minute 42:00) about research in the course of the project "Ethics of Digitalisation".

3sat

Under the patronage of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the project "Ethics of Digitisation" has been launched. One of the directors of research, Prof. Wolfgang Schulz, talks about digital communication at WDR as an opportunity and challenge.

WDR

Former employees

Working paper

Asghari, H., Birner, N., Burchardt, A., Dicks, D., Fassbender, J., Feldhus, N., Hewett, F., Hofmann, V., Kettemann, M. C., Schulz, W., Simon, J., Stolberg-Larsen, J., & Züger, T. (2022). What to explain when explaining is difficult. An interdisciplinary primer on XAI and meaningful information in automated decision-making. Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.6375784 Publication details

Drobotowicz, K., Vidal, V., Ziosi, M., Au, Y., Rawal, K., & Schneider, G. (2021). The playbook on participation and accountability in city challenges. Berkman Klein Center. Publication details

de Castro e Silva, B., Ly, E., Poszler, F., Marvez, G. R., Balasubramaniam, N., & Vogl, T. (2021). Municipal stakeholder engagement strategies for learning analytics and AI in education: participatory design, accountability and oversight mechanisms. Berkman Klein Center. Publication details

Kitikamdhorn, A., Chua, R., Bettay, D., Adhikari, A., Huth, L., & Atabey, A. (2021). Bangkok: An ethical city in 2030. Digital Asia Hub. Publication details

Other publications

Hofmann, V. (2022). Explaining AI – How to explain the unexplainable?, . Publication details

Deacon, B., Laufer, M. & Sokolovska, N. (2022). Sharing knowledge: Impact of Covid-19 on digital teaching. Digital society blog. Publication details

Hofmann, V. (2022). Towards an African Narrative on Digital Sovereignty, . Publication details

Gehl Sampath, P., & Tregenna, F. (Eds.) (2022). Digital Sovereignty: African Perspectives, . Publication details

Gehl Sampath, P., & Tregenna, F. (Eds.) (2022). Wikiversity Syllabus: Digital Sovereignty in Africa, . Publication details

Birner, N., Hod, S., Kettemann, M. C., Pirang, A., & Stock, F. (Eds.) (2021). Increasing Fairness in Targeted Advertising. The Risk of Gender Stereotyping by Job Ad Algorithms, . Publication details

Butters, N., Bollmann, H., Hofmann, V., & Kettemann, M. (2021). Digitalisierung definieren: Eine Verteidigung ethischer Prinzipien im digitalen Zeitalter. Digital Society Blog. Publication details

Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society (2021). A New Approach to Experiential Learning: Scholars inform the City of Helsinki on ethical AI applications for schools during BKC’s AI Policy Research Clinic. Berkman Klein Center. Publication details

Digital Asia Hub (2021). Fall 2021 Research Clinic on Cities, Digitalization, and Ethics. Digital Asia Hub News. Publication details

Organisation of events

Closing Event: Ethics of Digitalisation
with attending Vip: Sandra Cortesi, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University; Malavika Jayaram, Digital Asia Hub. From 07.02.2022 to 07.02.2022. Schloss Bellevue, Berlin, Germany. Co-Organised by: Office of the Federal President of Germany, Network of Centers, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, Digital Asia Hub (International) Further information

Hanna-Sophie Bollmann, Vincent Hofmann, Nadine Birner, Matthias C. Kettemann, Wolfgang Schulz

Stakeholder-Dialog – Ethik der Digitalisierung
From 06.10.2021 to 08.10.2021. Humboldt Institute für Internet and Society, Berlin, Germany. Co-Organised by: Berkman Klein Center, Digital Asia Hub (International) Further information

Nicole Butters, Hanna-Sophie Bollmann, Nadine Birner, Christian Grauvogel

Virtual research clinic – Cities and the ethics of digitalisation
From 01.10.2021 to 31.10.2021. Online, The Digital Asia Hub, Hong Kong, HKSAR. Co-Organised by: Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berkman Klein Center (International) Further information

Nadine Birner

Research Clinic: Explainable AI
From 08.09.2021 to 12.09.2021. Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin, Germany (National) Further information

Digitaler Salon: Cookies make you lose control
25.08.2021. Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin, Deutschland (National) Further information

Judith Faßbender, Natasha Vukajlovic, Christian Grauvogel

Virtual research clinic – Challenges & opportunities of public sector AI policy
From 01.07.2021 to 31.07.2021. Online, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA. Co-Organised by: The Digital Asia Hub, Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (International) Further information

Nadine Birner

Research Sprint – Toward an African Narrative on Digital Sovereignty
From 08.06.2021 to 27.07.2021. Online, South African Research Chair in Industrial Development at the University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa (International) Further information

Nadine Birner, Matthias C. Kettemann

Clinic Closing Event – Increasing Fairness in Targeted Advertising
23.03.2021. Online, Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin, Germany (International)

Shlomi Hod, Friederike Stock, Nadine Birner, Matthias C. Kettemann, Alexander Pirang, Wolfgang Schulz

Research Clinic – Increasing fairness in targeted advertising – The risk of gender stereotyping by job ad algorithms
From 01.02.2021 to 14.02.2021. Online, Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin, Deutschland (International)

Shlomi Hod, Friederike Stock, Nadine Birner, Matthias C. Kettemann, Alexander Pirang, Wolfgang Schulz