Report from the GOAL-Summer School, 23-24 June 2020




On 23 and 24 June the Summer School organised by the GOAL project took place. Due to the special circumstances caused by the Corona crisis, it was held digitally. Both project-internal and external speakers discussed interesting issues related to the governance of algorithms. There were lectures and workshops from the fields of (socio-)computer science, law, ethics, economics and technology assessment.

The approximately 50 participants:innen were first welcomed by the GOAL project spokesperson Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoeren and the managing director of GOAL-ITM Matthias Haag. Afterwards Prof. Dr. Katharina Zweig, head of the Algorithm Accountability Lab (AAL) at the TU Kaiserslautern, gave a lecture on the ethical aspects of algorithmic decision systems (ADMs) and regulatory options. The use of ADMs could lead to discrimination in a variety of places. Different problem areas of the topic were then vividly discussed in further workshops in smaller groups and the regulation possibilities for AI systems were discussed under the direction of Prof. Dr. Katharina Zweig, Tobias Krafft (AAL Kaiserslautern) and Marc Hauer (AAL Kaiserslautern).

After the lunch break, Catharina Rudschies (EIT, University of Hamburg) moderated the block of Ethics in IT (EIT) of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Hamburg. The block started with a presentation by Carla Hustedt (head of the project “Ethics of Algorithms” of the Bertelsmann Foundation) and Marc Hauer (AAL Kaiserslautern) on the challenges of practical implementation of principles, focusing on the approach of the AI Ethics Impact Group. In an experiment, the participants were able to classify various processes into a risk matrix, which also reflected the results of the AI Ethics Impact Group.

Subsequently, Prof. Dr. Judith Simon (EIT, University of Hamburg) took a look at the link between digitisation and ethics. Simon raised the question of whether technology is neutral and gave a brief overview of the history of computer ethics. Prof. Dr. Ingrid Schneider and Catharina Rudschies then went into the difference between ethics and risk assessment in their lecture and discussed the proposal of Marc Hauer and Carla Hustedt.

The first day ended with a contribution by research associate:innen from the Chair of Macroeconomics at the Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB), who dealt with the systematization of behavior-controlling elements, especially through apps. Dr. Christina Timko presented the basics in her talk, which were then taken up further by Nicholas Schmidt in the workshop. The dangers of mobile apps for influencing behaviour were especially emphasised.

The following day began with a presentation by Dr. Carsten Orwat from the Institute of Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), in which he showed the existing discrimination risks posed by algorithms. Subsequently, Jascha Bareis and Anja Folberth, also from ITAS, pointed out the problems that arise when determining a concept of justice in the context of the regulation of AI. Finally, the Summer School ended with the presentation of different fairness standards by Johannes Kevekordes, Verena Vogt and Hanna Hoffmann from the Institute for Information, Telecommunication and Media Law (ITM) of the WWU Münster, which also illuminated legal aspects of fairness standards. The workshops followed on from the lectures and were led by Marc Hauer (AAL Kaiserslautern), Yannik Borutta (ITM, WWU Münster), Matthias Haag, Hanna Hoffmann and Johannes Kevekordes.

At the end, Prof. Ingrid Schneider, Prof. Judith Simon, Dr. Carsten Orwat, Dr. Christina Timko and Marc Hauer discussed the topic “Governance of Algorithms – Use of Regulatory Instruments?” in a panel discussion moderated by Matthias Haag. The controversial discussion resulted in numerous new ideas for all participants.

The event provided comprehensive insights into the topics dealt with by GOAL and met with a comprehensive positive response from the participants. With an expert workshop already in the planning stage next year, interested parties will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with the project partners:innen.

During the whole Summer School the video conferencing system of Trusted AI GmbH was used, which made the event possible in the first place.

The detailed programme of the Summer School: Programme Summer School