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Future of Digitization Research:

Centre for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) presents concept for new research institute in North Rhine-Westphalia

The Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) will present the concept for a new institute for digitisation research in North Rhine-Westphalia on 11 February 2020 in the Düsseldorf Haus der Universität.

25. May 2020

The Institute’s goal is to participate in shaping digitalisation in society through research that puts people at the centre. At a Meet the Scientists, pilot projects on artificial intelligence, the digitalisation of sustainable behaviour and the principles of transparent scientific research will be presented.

How much do algorithms influence our behaviour and social coexistence? What impact does digitalisation have on democracy and the formation of public opinion? What conditions should a trustworthy artificial intelligence fulfil? The digital transformation poses major challenges for society. Science and research also have to reposition themselves.

The Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) has developed the concept for a new institute for digitalisation research in North Rhine-Westphalia. The institute will actively participate in the social and technological shaping of the digital transformation. Research will focus on the potentials and challenges of digitalisation for people.

The director of CAIS, Prof. Dr. Michael Baurmann, particularly emphasises the holistic perspective: “At the institute, different subjects are interlinked: from the social sciences and humanities to the technical sciences. Through this interdisciplinary cooperation, the ethical, legal, political, economic and social aspects of digitalisation can be comprehensively considered in addition to the technical aspects. This all-round view is unique in this form.”

The CAIS has been funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia since 2017 with a total of around 5.6 million euros. The pilot projects will receive special support from the State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia in 2020. Minister President Armin Laschet announced the founding of the Institute for Digitisation Research for 2021 at the Federal Government’s Digital Summit.

Nathanael Liminski, head of the state chancellery and state secretary responsible for media, emphasises the importance of the new institute: “We want to shape the digital transformation actively, with foresight and responsibly. To do this, we must focus on social and ethical issues in addition to all the technological challenges. The CAIS is already addressing these questions of the future and creating the link between man and machine. The state government’s goal is to further develop the CAIS into a research institute and make it a beacon of digitisation research.”

Keynote address, panel discussion and Meet the Scientists

The event offers a diverse and top-class programme. The keynote address will be given by the internationally renowned scientist Professor Helen Margetts, Director at the Alan Turing Institute in London. In a panel discussion, Dr Frauke Gerlach (Director of the Grimme Institute) and Prof. Dr Dr h.c. Christoph M. Schmidt (President of RWI) will discuss the challenges of digitisation research. The pilot projects will be presented in direct conversation with the guests in a Meet the Scientists.

Excellent partners support the founding of the institute

The group of sponsors of the planned Institute for Digitisation Research consists of the Ruhr University Bochum, the University of Duisburg-Essen, the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, the Westphalian Wilhelms University Münster, the GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Grimme Institute.

Launch of five pilot projects and a research incubator

In preparation for the founding of the institute, pilot projects will be carried out at CAIS in 2020:

  • Opinion Monitor Artificial Intelligence
  • Artificial Intelligence in State and Administration
  • Artificial intelligence as an object of political control
  • Digitisation of sustainable behaviour
  • Open science strategies

An innovative research incubator promotes cooperation between the projects and identifies socially relevant topics.

Further information on the research projects.