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Lunch Talk | The Theory of Artificial Immutability: Protecting Algorithmic Groups under Anti-Discrimination Law

Der Lunch Talk findet am 27. Juni 2022 um 12.30 Uhr MEZ statt. Die Referentin, Sandra Wachter, wird thematische Einblicke in die Berücksichtigung algorithmischer Gruppen im Antidiskriminierungsrecht geben. Hadi Asghari wird die Veranstaltung moderieren. Dies ist eine Präsenz- sowie Online-Veranstaltung, die in englischer Sprache abgehalten wird. Unser Ziel ist es, in einer inspirierenden digitalen Mittagspause zusammenzukommen und Ideen auszutauschen.


L U N C H  T A L K

The Theory of Artificial Immutability: Protecting Algorithmic Groups under Anti-Discrimination Law

Sandra Wachter

Tuesday, 27 June 2023 | 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm (CET)
Online (via Zoom) & Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Französische Str. 9, 10117 Berlin


Artificial intelligence is increasingly used to make life-changing decisions, including about who is successful with their job application and who gets into university. To do this, AI often creates groups that haven’t previously been used by humans. Many of these groups are not covered by non-discrimination law (e.g., ‘dog owners’ or ‘sad teens’), and some of them are even incomprehensible to humans (e.g., people classified by how fast they scroll through a page or by which browser they use).

This is important because decisions based on algorithmic groups can be harmful. If a loan applicant scrolls through the page quickly or uses only lower caps when filling out the form, their application is more likely to be rejectedIf a job applicant uses browsers such as Microsoft Explorer or Safari instead of Chrome or Firefox, they are less likely to be successful. Non-discrimination law aims to protect against similar types of harms, such as equal access to employment, goods, and services, but has never protected “fast scrollers” or “Safari users”. Granting these algorithmic groups protection will be challenging because historically the European Court of Justice has remained reluctant to extend the law to cover new groups.

At this lunch talk, Sandra Wachter argues that algorithmic groups should be protected by non-discrimination law and shows how this could be achieved.


Sandra Wachter, she is a Professor of Technology and Regulation at the Oxford Internet Institute, where she researches the legal and ethical implications of emerging technologies such as AI, Big Data, and robotics. She leads the Governance of Emerging Technologies Research Programme and is affiliated with numerous institutions worldwide, advising on regulatory and ethical questions concerning emerging technologies. Her work focuses on profiling, inferential analytics, algorithmic bias, diversity, and fairness, as well as governmental surveillance, predictive policing, human rights online, and health tech and medical law. Professor Wachter’s research has received significant media attention, and she has won numerous awards, including for her contributions to AI governance. Her current British Academy project aims to find mechanisms to protect privacy and identity in the age of AI and Big Data. Her work also includes the governance and ethical design of algorithms, ethical auditing methods for AI, and legal and ethical aspects of robotics and autonomous systems.


Hadi Asghari is a postdoctoral researcher in the Public Interest AI research group at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG). His research  focuses on safeguarding public values in AI systems. Hadi collaborates closely with researchers and experts from various disciplines and backgrounds, including civil society, industry, and government. He is a member of the AI & Society Lab (at HIIG), the Access Request Advocacy & Research Network (at VU Brussels), and the Open Tech Fund advisory council, among others.


Lunch Talk Series

In our Lunch Talk Series, we explore cutting edge research at the intersection of digitalization and society that is also highly relevant for practice and policy. Topics include grand challenges, sustainability, responsible platforms, AI and the knowledge society. Our aim is to bring researchers and practitioners with a mutual interest on these topics together, exchange ideas, and make research more visible, applicable and impactful.


To participate in the event, please register using the form below. You will receive the login details on the day of the event.


Eine Anmeldung ist für diese Veranstaltung aktuell nicht möglich.

Datum der Veranstaltung

27.06.2023 | 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm ical | gcal


Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft,  Französische Straße 9,  10117 Berlin


Katharina Mosene

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin: AI & Society Lab


Diese exklusive Vorlesungsreihe entwickelt eine europäische Perspektive zu den aktuellen Transformationsprozessen innerhalb unserer Gesellschaft.


Einmal im Monat laden wir ausgewählte Gäste ein, um gemeinsam mit dem Publikum über die Auswirkungen der Digitalisierung auf die Gesellschaft zu sprechen.


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