Ethics partners Jessica Heesen and Laura Schelenz (University of Tübingen) spoke on the topic “Technology design and diversity: AI for democratic publics?” at the University of Tübingen on January 21, 2021. They presented the WeNet project as an empirical example of technology design that aims at creating a digital public.
Digital publics today face challenges due ethical risks such as algorithmic bias and discrimination. They may accidentally reinforce inequalities in society, for instance by promoting primarily mainstream content in a platform. At the same time, publics in digital and analogue forms are the foundation and framework for public (political) engagement and democracy, but also for the formation of personal relationships and the realization of one’s life plans. Digital publics must therefore ensure openness to diverse identities and lifestyles. This is a question of technology design. WeNet is a best practice example of how diversity is incorporated into the design of a platform for social interaction. It thereby tackles one of the most pressing issues of our times: how we can foster diverse and healthy digital publics for democracy.
Hosted by Prof. Tanja Thomas in the lecture series “(Dis)empowerment,” Heesen and Schelenz discussed with approximately 50 students about the implications of diversity and discrimination for technology design. Our partners thank Prof. Thomas for the opportunity to present their research.