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Digital Ethics Working Group

The working group is organised jointly by the Digital Society and Media Competence Department of the State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS). It focuses on new ethical challenges of the digital transformation – in each session on one sub-area. In addition to scientific impulses, the main focus is on open dialogue and an intensive exchange between science and actors from administration and civil society in NRW. The goal: to acquire more knowledge at the cutting edge of research, to describe problems more sharply and to identify fields of action in perspective. In total, the Digital Ethics Working Group has already brought together over 140 participants from more than 45 organisations.


Artificial Intelligence – Trust, Decisions and Discourse, 11 November 2021

  • Prof. Dr Hanno Gottschalk (Bergische Universität Wuppertal): Six ways to (mis)trust AI. What sources of knowledge do we have to determine the trustworthiness of AI and why do we need to continue this discussion?
  • prof. Dr. Susanne Hahn (CAIS/Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf): AI algorithms, pattern recognition and decision-making
  • Prof. Dr. Frank Marcinkowski (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf): Orient AI towards humans! Are people prepared for it?


Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, 5 December 2019

The following exemplary questions will be discussed, among others:

  • What individual and societal benefits can the use of artificial intelligence have?
  • Which (old) questions might arise anew through the use of AI applications (e.g. solidarity-based insurance models)?
  • Do we need a (new) set of values for AI? Which values are relevant?
  • Ralph Müller-Eiselt (Bertelsmann Foundation): “Man with machine – how algorithms are changing our lives and we can use them for ourselves.”
  • Prof. Dr Barbara E. Weißenberger (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf): “Uber yourself before you get Kodak’ed! Opportunities and limits for the use of artificial intelligence in companies.”
  • Prof. Dr. Laurenz Wiskott (Ruhr University Bochum): “How does AI work and what can it do today?”

Digital Culture, 4 July 2019

The following exemplary questions will be discussed, among others:

  • What does culture have to do with digitalisation? What is the overall impact of digitalisation on culture? To what extent is the way of collaborating, communicating, creating innovations and sharing knowledge changing?
  • To what extent has the culture of debate and discussion changed as a result of digital discussions?
  • What role does a “digital safety culture” play? How can this safety culture be described and evaluated?
  • Jun.-Prof. Dr. Marc Ziegele (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf): “Digital Discussion Culture: Empirical Findings on the Quality, Effect and Moderation of Online Discussions
  • Prof. Dr. Christiane Eilders (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf): “Dissonance as a Feature of Current Online Public Spheres: Counter- and Juxtaposition instead of Consensus Orientation.”
  • Matteo Cagnazzo (AWARE7): “h4ck th3 pl4n3t – Digital Security Culture in Transition.”

Data use: potentials and regulation, 14 May 2019

The following exemplary questions, among others, will be discussed:

  • To what extent do processes change through the collection and evaluation of digital data?
  • What potentials arise when it comes to the future (automated) collection and evaluation of digital data?
  • What obstacles arise that stand in the way of extensive data use and its potential for innovation?
  • Prof. Dr. Mario Martini (Chair of Administrative Science, Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and European Law, German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer): “Smart City – between vision and reality.”
  • Prof. Dr. Justus Haucap (Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE), Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
  • Alice Wiegand (Office for Statistics and Elections, City of Düsseldorf): “Open Data: Good Things Take Time


Digital Working Worlds and Markets, 29 November 2018

The following exemplary questions will be discussed, among others:

  • What ethical challenges and opportunities do digital worlds of work face?
  • What about consumer protection in digital markets?
  • What challenges do digital markets face? And how should a regulatory framework be designed?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of online services that explicitly do not function according to market principles?
  • prof. Dr. Ulrich Heimeshoff (Adjunct Professor of Economics, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE), Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf): “Digitalisation and Platform Markets: Innovations, Competition and Legislative Challenges
  • Prof. Dr. Peter Kenning (Professor of Business Administration, in particular Marketing, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf): “Consumer Protection in Digital Markets – Selected Ethical Aspects
  • Alice Wiegand (Head of the Open Data project in the state capital Düsseldorf): “How Wikipedia, Open Data and other open projects are changing the world we live in”

Digital Privacy, 13 September 2018

The following exemplary questions will be discussed, among others:

  • How is the meaning of privacy changing in the digitally networked world?
  • What are the consequences, e.g. with regard to data protection or media education?
  • How is the image of man and action changing as a result of advancing datafication?
  • Prof. Dr. Julian Krüper (Chair of Public Law, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf): “Privacy in a Fundamental Rights Perspective
  • Prof. Dr. Sabine Trepte (Chair of Media Psychology, University of Hohenheim): “Privacy vs. self-revelation – attitudes, perceptions and behaviours towards privacy on the internet.”
  • Ralf Bendrath (European Parliament): “The EU General Data Protection Regulation – European Digital Regulation with a Global Impact
  • Prof. Dr. Sascha Fahl (Chair of Usable Security and Privacy, Ruhr University Bochum): “Privacy Engineering from the perspective of IT engineers.”

Digital Democratic Publics, 29 June 2018

  • Prof. Dr. Gerhard Vowe (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf): “Public communication in transition. The three central challenges posed by digitalisation.”
  • Dr. Lena Frischlich (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster): “Political-Manipulative Online Communication as an Ethical Challenge for Science and Practice.”
  • Prof. Dr Christoph Neuberger (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich): “Clickbaiting, fake. news, high speed: Ethical challenges for journalism on the internet”
  • Dr Cornelius Puschmann (Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research): “Diverse or one-sided? Empirical Findings on News Usage in Algorithmic Personalised Information Environments.”


Representatives from the following institutions have participated in the sessions so far:

State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia, European Parliament, Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia, Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy, Verbraucherzentrale Nordrhein-Westfalen e. V., Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of North Rhine-Westphalia, Ministry of Children, Family, Refugees and Integration of North Rhine-Westphalia, Ministry of Justice of North Rhine-Westphalia, Ministry of the Interior, Local Government, Building and Equality, State Criminal Police Office of North Rhine-Westphalia, State Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information of North Rhine-Westphalia, State Agency for Civic Education of North Rhine-Westphalia, State Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia, Federal Cartel Office, Federal Association of German Startups, Center for Advanced Internet Studies, German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, eco – Verband der Internetwirtschaft e.V., Protestant Office NRW, Society for Media Education and Communication Culture, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Grimme Institute, Catholic Social Institute, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Catholic Social Academy FRANZ HITZE HAUS, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, LfM Foundation for Local Journalism, MERCUR Science Policy Network, NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Stadtbibliothek Düsseldorf, Städtetag Nordrhein-Westfalen, Technische Universität Dortmund, Universität Hohenheim, Unternehmer NRW, Verbraucherzentrale Nordrhein-Westfalen, Vor Ort NRW, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Zentrum für Wissenschaftsdidaktik.


» Dr. Matthias Begenat (Director of Knowledge Transfer and Public Relations, CAIS), matthias.begenat@cais-research.de

» Silke Offergeld (Officer for Digital Society and Media Competence, Staatskanzlei Nordrhein-Westfalen)

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