TAMING THE MACHINES
... is a public lecture series organized by the research group Ethics in Information Technology.
Find here our current and below all previous programmes:
Summer 2020 (cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic): Governance and Regulatory Challenges
Witnessing the harm done by online disinformation campaigns, algorithmic discrimination, and digital surveillance, there are increasing calls for regulation of artificial intelligence and other related digital technologies. Indeed, a recent article in Nature Machine Intelligence reported that there are over 70 sets of principles and guidelines on AI Ethics issued by companies, academic institutions and public organizations around the world in the last five years, which demonstrate the urgency of proper regulation of AI and digital technologies.
The governance and regulation of AI and digital technologies, however, cannot be limited to principles and guidelines on AI Ethics. To achieve good AI governance and regulation, there is a variety of challenges: One challenge is how to put principles into practice, and how to coordinate and mediate conflicting principles in concrete contexts. Another challenge is the danger of 'ethics washing', where the implementation of governance and regulatory frameworks is delayed by 'ethical debates' or replaced by the instalment of Ethics Review Boards without clear mandate and supervisory power. There are also questions about power and legitimacy—who get to decide and on what basis the decision is justified.
These are some of the questions any satisfactory account of AI governance and regulation must address. The public lecture series invites internationally renowned scholars to explore major questions about the governance and regulation of artificial intelligence and digital technologies.
Winter 2019/20: Information Technology for a Good Society
Big data, algorithms, artificial intelligence, and other digital technologies have, with little doubt, enhanced our knowledge and improved our well-being. These technologies help to make new scientific discoveries and medical breakthroughs, and they may in the future surpass—or, in some cases, have already surpassed—human performance in mundane and critical tasks from Vacuuming to the diagnosis and prognosis of diseases.
These powerful technologies, however, cannot by themselves guarantee a better future for humanity. It should also be clear that the benefits and risks of these technologies could be unevenly distributed among different races, gender groups, and social class. To maximize the benefits, and to ensure that the benefits and risks are being distributed fairly, it is essential for us to consider how to design, use, and regulate digital technologies. This public lecture series invites internationally renowned scholars to discuss major normative questions related to the design, use, and regulation of information technology for a good society.
Programme Winter 2019/20 [pdf]
Additionally we will host the
Surveillance Studies Lecture and Surveillance Studies Prize Award Ceremony 2020*:
Mi 29.1.2020, Raum W221 [more] [poster] [stream the talk]
Three Arguments for “Responsible Users”. AI Ethics for Ordinary People
Dr. Pak-Hang Wong (Universität Hamburg)
* contact for this event: Dr. habil Nils Zurawski, firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer 2019: Securing Knowledge
Recommender systems and personalisation algorithms, search engines and chatbots, big data and machine learning: digital technologies play an increasingly prominent role in the creation, collection, organisation, and dissemination of information in our digital world. These technologies have the potential to reshape our traditional practices and concepts of knowledge, to transform processes of learning and knowing. For example, personalised recommender systems have complemented, if not replaced, testimony from friends and expert opinion. Students increasingly depend on search engines for factual knowledge in lieu of rote learning, and scientists rely on big data and machine learning for novel insights.
These powerful technologies, however, also can be—and, indeed, have been—misused and abused: fake news and “alternative facts” are spread online via chatbots and trolls; personalisation may lead to filter bubbles and echo chambers; correlations are mistaken as causation in decision-making powered by data analytics. As a result, information technologies and data practices are challenging our basic understanding of 'knowledge' and related concepts such as truth, trust, reliability.
If societies want to ensure that these new technologies and practices are conducive to our knowledge, it is essential to examine more closely these novel knowledge practices, their underlying assumptions and implications. This public lecture series invites internationally renowned scholars to discuss major epistemic questions related to information technologies.
stream all talks on Universität Hamburg's video platform lecture2go
Poster Summer 2019 [pdf]
Winter 2018/19: Discussing Ethics and Information Technologies
Powered by algorithms, music and video streaming platforms can offer us a unique personalized entertainment experience. Robots can replace humans to complete tedious and dangerous tasks. Big data analytics has become a powerful tool for scientific research. Yet, the destructive potential of information technologies should not be overlooked: software has been shown to be discriminatory, people were killed in accidents involving self-driving cars, and the now-defunct Cambridge Analytica showed that social media platforms can be exploited to spread fake news and disrupt democracy. It is therefore imperative to critically reflect upon the social, ethical, and political dimensions of information technologies. This public lecture series invites internationally renowned scholars to explore and discuss promises and perils of Information technologies for our society.
stream talks on Universität Hamburg's video platform lecture2go
Poster Winter 18/19 [pdf]
Regulated Data - Regulated Activism? Digital Activism in the GDPR Era
Prof. Dr. Payal Arora
Are Machines Better Judges?
Prof. Dr. Katharina Anna Zweig
Love, Sex and Power: The Rise of the Machines and the Arts of Being Human
Prof. Dr. Charles Ess
Rethinking the Ethics of Communication* [lecture2go]
The Ethics of Law and the Laws of Ethics
Prof. Dr. Mireille Hildebrandt
Soft Ethics, Hard Ethics, and the Governance of the Digital* [lecture2go]
Prof. Dr. Luciano Floridi
* in Co-operation with the Public Lecture Series „Reason, Reflection & Responsibility“ of Philosophisches Seminar