On December 11th, First Project Meeting of the interdisciplinary project “GOAL – Governance of and by Algorithms”, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, took place at the Institute for Information, Telecommunications and Media Law (ITM) in Münster. The representatives of the various partner universities discussed their role in the project and presented the different perspectives and approaches of their disciplines to the topic.
First, Prof. Dr. Hoeren, Verena Vogt, Johannes Kevekordes and Yannik Borutta from ITM explained the background of the project. The increasing use of algorithms creates opportunities, but also poses challenges for society. Therefore, the aim of the project is to identify the need for action and to identify options for the use of algorithms. The ITM plays the role of project coordinator and deals with legal issues.
Subsequently, Prof. Dr. Ingrid Schneider from the University of Hamburg stated that her main task was to work out the ethical and political challenges. She emphasized that from an ethical perspective it is essential to clearly define values in the use of algorithms and to determine the relationship between the values.
Prof. Dr. Katherina Zweig from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern explained the basic technical terms, as there is a lot of confusion in general language usage. She also presented current phenomena that occur during the implementation of algorithmic systems.
Dr. Christina Timko and Nicholas Schmidt from the Ruhr-University Bochum presented in particular the idea of conducting a case study using a newsfeed app, which aims to increase interaction by means of behavioural control elements. They also showed a first design draft of the app.
Dr. Carsten Orwat showed that in the presence of value conflicts, the balancing of interests is often left to the users of algorithmic systems. This must be taken into account when developing new governance options.
In the afternoon, a variety of organizational questions were clarified, including those concerning the upcoming Summer School, which is planned as a multi-day event in summer 2020.
In summary, all partners are looking forward to an exciting project and the intensive cooperation, from which all departments hope to gain a clear advantage in the development of the complex research topic.