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AI and Liability: Who is responsible for Mistakes made by Artificial Intelligence?

The risks associated with the use of AI are widely discussed. Examples range from possible misdiagnoses in medical treatment and discrimination in job searches to dangers for democratic systems or violations of human dignity. The possibly existential threats in particular, which are said to emanate from generative AI and which its creators themselves never tire of pointing out, are a source of heated debate. However, AI systems do not emerge and act on their own: Humans are always involved in their development, dissemination and use, at least for the time being, and humans still bear responsibility for how the systems are set up, what they do and what happens to the results. But are they also liable when mistakes happen? It is not easy to decide who is held responsible if an AI system causes damage, and our legal situation does not yet have any clear answers to this question. This is about to change soon: With the AI Act, the EU is currently in the process of establishing product liability for AI. What are the aspects which lawyers and legislators need to address when it comes to liability issues involving the use of AI? And how well is this upcoming AI law compatible or at odds with our existing understanding of the law?

Carsten Gerner-Beuerle is Professor of Commercial Law at University College London. The Law and Economics scholar is an expert in International Corporate, Private and Capital Market Law and has contributed to/weighed in on regulatory policies of the EU Commission and the EU Parliament. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, he describes the unclear liability situation in which AI is used so far and how it affects current practice. He explains the legal background to this complex situation and describes how different legal systems deal with risks arising from the use of AI. Furthermore, he outlines the strategy the EU is pursuing with the AI Act. Together with hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Gerner-Beuerle discusses the characteristics of AI that distinguish it from “ordinary” products and how liability is usually addressed, the typical risks associated with the use of AI systems in general and the extent to which the concept of liability could nonetheless function as a regulatory instrument.

Episode 47 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Carsten Gerner-Beuerle of University College London, 13 February 2024
Further informationen:

Link to Carsten Gerner-Beuerle’s profile: https://profiles.ucl.ac.uk/64070-carsten-gernerbeuerle/about

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.

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Arena of IoT: A Football Stadium as a Digital Real-World Laboratory

The so-called “Internet of Things” means that digital processes in our environment run as if by themselves. Networked devices trigger real events, collect a wide variety of data and, combined with sensors, microphone and camera technology, provide an unimaginable amount of information. This networking can make our work easier, or at least they change the way we work, and creates completely new everyday tasks, new opportunities, but also its own conditions affecting our lives: it transforms jobs and leisure activities, changes our mobility, how we communicate and – sometimes more, sometimes less subtly – what we focus our attention on. Actually implementing innovations here is an exciting and complex practical task. What opportunities do we have to try things out and negotiate, while at the same time utilising “real”, ready-to-use technologies? The stadium of the Eintracht Frankfurt football club has been serving as such a testing ground for the Rhein-Main region for some time now. A large sports venue and the management of football events as a laboratory for digitalisation – with respect for the traditions and values of the club and the demands of its members and fans. How this goal can be achieved and the ideas, projects and goals behind the project Arena of IoT are the subject of this episode of Digitalgespräch.

Dr Oliver Bäcker is head of the Arena of IoT at EintrachtTech, the digital subsidiary of the sports club Eintracht Frankfurt. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the specialist in innovation and technology management provides insights into specific projects and developments in and around the stadium. Bäcker describes the background to Eintracht Frankfurt’s particular digital focus, how the club’s values and interests are incorporated into the design of specific innovations and how members and fans are involved in the process. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Bäcker discusses which projects are attracting the most attention from politicians and the public, whether the sporting competition between football clubs is also extending to th field of digital innovation – and what significance the analogue experience continues to have and retain.

Episode 46 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Oliver Bäcker of EintrachtTech, 23 January 2024
Further informationen:

Link to information on EintrachtTech and the Arena of IoT: https://klub.eintracht.de/eintrachttech/digitalzentrum-arena-of-iot/

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.

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Digital Forensics

Reading out data on a supposedly destroyed hard drive, dismantling the on-board computer of a car involved in an accident, finding hidden files on a smartphone – in the digital society, investigators often need the support of IT experts to solve crimes. There are special training programmes for “digital forensics” that combine technical expertise with legal knowledge. However, compared to the established practices of careful securing and intelligent evaluation of evidence, for which traditional forensics builds on the experience of entire generations of investigators and scientists, forensic computing is a very young discipline that has to be very adaptable: Innovations and new systems come with new classes of digital traces – but also challenges for research and practice in digital forensics, because forensic scientists and police officers must be trained for digitality in the long term.

Felix Freiling is Professor of IT Security Infrastructures at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt). In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the sought-after expert explains how to properly handle digital evidence and what else is part of digital forensics training, talks about practical examples and makes it clear where data is generated in our everyday lives that could be analysed if necessary. He talks about the role that falsifiability of digital traces plays in reality, whether AI supports investigations, how well criminals cover their digital tracks and where the knowledge of forensic computer science is still useful. Together with hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Freiling discusses what the omnipresence of digital traces means for privacy, how responsible digitalisation can help think about crime on both a small and large scale – and what the digital equivalent of a DNA trace could be.

Episode 45 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Felix Freiling of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, 12 December 2023
Further informationen:

Link to the Research Training Group ‘Cybercrime and Forensic Computing’ at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: https://www.cybercrime.fau.de/research-training-group-2475-cybercrime-and-forensic-computing/

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.

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From policy debates to election campaigns: digital communication of political parties

Our everyday communication has become radically digitalised during the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, political parties and their members have also had to reorganise themselves: Entire party conferences were held virtually at times, and debates and decision-making also had to succeed with digital tools, which are now being retained and continue to supplement face-to-face dialogue. But even beyond the exceptional situation of a pandemic, parties are experimenting with opening up new opportunities for collaboration as part of modernisation measures. Attempts are being made to reach voters on social media, but above all to improve the inner organisation of the party through digitalisation. How the political parties in Germany are approaching their own digital transformation, what their priorities are and what their respective prerequisites are, of course, varies greatly: the number of members, budgets and different political guiding principles all play a role.

Isabelle Borucki is Professor for Methodology and Philosophy in digital transformation at Philipps-Universität Marburg and researches political organisations in particular. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the expert describes her observations from studies and surveys that provide insights into the current digitisation processes of political parties. She explains the similarities and differences between the parties and contextualises them in terms of their respective characteristics and framework conditions. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Borucki discusses how digitisation can make participation in political processes easier but also more complex, how members and established structures react to digitisation processes, what challenges social media poses for PR departments – and how parties have responded to the technical possibilities for digital election campaigns.

Episode 44 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Isabelle Borucki of Philipps-Universität Marburg, 21 November 2023
Further informationen:

To the “Campaign Watch” project of the NRW School of Governance: https://www.campaign-watch.de

To Isabelle Borucki’s website: https://isabelleborucki.de

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.

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Kryptoregister und technische Grundlagen der Tokenisierung

Workshop

7 November 2023, 13:00 – 15:00 CET
Online via Zoom

Internal workshop hosted by the project group Tokenized Finance (ToFi).

programme

to ZEVEDI project group Tokenized Finance (ToFi)»

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Digitality and the Democratic Mandate of Public-Service Broadcasting

In the age of the internet, television and radio have lost their status as monopoly mass media. However, the public broadcasters have retained their important role for democracy and their constitutional tasks: Primarily financed by the broadcasting fees of the citizens, they are supposed to inform, entertain, reflect diversity of opinion and different realities of life and be relevant to as many people as possible with a high-quality and diverse programme. For a long time, they have therefore also been present in the social media and on online platforms, with content elaborately adapted to special target groups and their media usage habits. However, the public function is not limited to programming, relevance and reach: the archiving of broadcasts as historical documents of current events is also part of this responsibility, as is the provision and maintenance of media infrastructure. The latter is not only used by the broadcasters themselves, but also by private media professionals – and is of central importance for disaster control. It is clear that the internet and digitalisation are creating pressure for transformation in many areas. What is working well, what still needs to be done – and what is at stake?

Florian Hager is the director of Hessischer Rundfunk, one of Germany’s nine regional public-service broadcasters. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, he describes the urgent questions and challenges the broadcaster is facing. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Hager discusses the significance of the public broadcasters’ mandate in the face of digitality, where the course needs to be set, where the commitment of politics and society is required – and what role transmission masts and FM radios still play in 2023.

Episode 43 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Florian Hager of Hessischer Rundfunk, 31 October 2023
Further informationen:

Link to the hr-Act on the website of Hessischer Rundfunk: https://www.hr.de/unternehmen/rechtliche-grundlagen/das-hr-gesetz-v1,hr-gesetz-100.html
Link to the website of the German Broadcasting Archive:
https://www.dra.de/de/

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.

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Modelling, Simulation, Optimization – the Digitalization of our Energy Supply Network

Our everyday life is built on the certainty that electricity will be reliably available at all times. Fluctuations or even failures are not foreseen. When we are not dealing with disaster prevention or imagining doomsday scenarios, we rarely think about how vulnerable we are in our dependence on energy supply. Especially gas grids are not only huge and complex, but they change and require permanent readjustment and stabilisation. Further developing and optimising the energy grid with a view to new energy sources and changing priorities, monitoring its function and making it resilient to a multitude of risks is a highly complex task: we not only want to understand how different energy sources interact, but we also need to make reliable predictions and must be able to react immediately if something unexpected happens. This requires physical models, mathematical methods and data analysis – also in real time. Simulations and calculations take into account developments on the global energy market, the weather and the condition of the pipelines as well as the quality of energy sources or the consumption of industry and private households. How do you make this multi-dimensional system manageable?

Prof. Dr Alexander Martin is a mathematician. He heads the ADA Lovelace Center for Analytics, Data and Applications at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS and is founding vice president of the Technische Universität Nürnberg. In his work, he deals with modelling and simulation in optimisation issues and brings “Artificial Intelligence” into application. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the expert explains how our energy network is structured and what considerations underlie the models and methods with which he and his colleagues work. He describes the benefits of digitalisation, what data is needed and where AI can come into play. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring Martin discusses which objectives and political debates influence the development of the gas network – and which economic and ecological costs are associated with the collection, storage and use of data.

Folge 41: Digitalgespräch feat. Alexander Martin of Technische Universität Nürnberg, 19 September 2023
Further informationen:

Link to the profile of Alexander Martin on the webseite of the Technische Universität Nürnberg: To the profile of Alexander Martin on the website of the Nuremberg University of Technology: https://www.utn.de/person/prof-alexander-martin/

Link to the website of the ADA Lovelace Center for Analytics, Data and Applications at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS: https://www.scs.fraunhofer.de/en/focus-projects/ada-center.html

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.

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Precision Farming – the Example of Fruit Growing

Agriculture shapes rural areas like few other industries, and it secures our food supply. It is in all our interests that farmers and their employees can do their work in a good way. What this means in detail is, of course, controversial. Time and again, farmers are criticised because jobs on their farms are unpopular and food production, storage and distribution are associated with environmental and climate impacts. Of course we want ecologically and socially sustainable food for all people – and a well-functioning agriculture too. Digitalisation promises relief in the conflict between environmental goals with our demand for socially just production and availability of produce: efficient and networked farming has already arrived on many farms, as has fast access to knowledge and digital planning aids. Those involved as well as politician are convicted that agriculture must become more digital in order to become more sustainable. But is digitalisation alone sufficient to solve existing problems?

Dr Christine Rösch heads the research group “Sustainable Bioeconomics” at the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis, ITAS at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The agricultural biologist and expert on transformation processes in rural areas explains in this episode of Digitalgespräch which objectives and necessities determine the digital transformation of agriculture, and why fruit-growing is a good example for understanding these processes. She describes which technologies are already widely used, in which innovations many hopes are placed and how well the implementation of modernisation measures is succeeding. Together with the hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Rösch discusses what opportunities digitalisation holds for a more sustainable agriculture, how organic and conventional farms use it, what far-reaching consequences and risks are indicated – and whether there is also a generation conflict to be overcome in the digital transformation of the job description “farmer”.

Episode 40 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Christiane Rösch of Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), 8 August 2023
Further informationen:

Link to Christine Rösch’s profile at ITAS: https://www.itas.kit.edu/kollegium_roesch_christine.php
Link to the DESIRA project discussed in this episode: https://desira2020.agr.unipi.it/
Link to informationen on the EU strategy Farm2Fork: https://food.ec.europa.eu/horizontal-topics/farm-fork-strategy_en

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.

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Teaching and Learning after the Pandemic: The Difficult Transformation of Digital Schooling

Digitisation in public sector institutions takes place under different conditions than digital innovations in the private sector or at home. There is a great gap between what has obviously been technically possible for a long time and what is being implemented in public schools, for example. Also great: The resentment that some people feel about this situation. And when it comes to children’s education and future opportunities, improving the status quo seems particularly urgent. The pandemic has shown that under the pressure of school closures – and with exceptions and special regulations in place – suddenly a great deal was possible where nothing had moved for decades before. However: privacy, data protection and data sovereignty are still important values. Our society cannot and should not simply give them up – even if, at first glance, digitally enhanced teachingworks better with Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, Zoom and Co. than with data protection-compliant open source solutions and our own data centres. How do we get out of this dilemma?

Jan Marco Leimeister is Professor of Business Informatics at the Universities of Kassel and St. Gallen. The expert for change management and innovation processes has his eye on the Hessian schools as well as the workplace and adult education. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, he talks about insights from his observations – as a scientist who identifies structures and lines of conflict, and also as a father who has experienced a high level of digitalisation in all areas of life while being abroad with his children in Singapore. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, he discusses how digitisation can actually enhance teaching, where the responsibility for these transformation processes lies – and whether Singapore can serve as a model for us when it comes to digitisation in schools.

Episode 39 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Jan Marco Leimeister of Universität Kassel, 18 July 2023
Further informationen:

Link to the report and guidelines “Einführung eines DSGVO-konformen Videokonferenzsystems an hessischen Schulen.” from the project by the same name, which is discussed in the podcast: https://kobra.uni-kassel.de/handle/123456789/14514

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.

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Preserving Digital Works of Art: A Challenge for Museums

What is the value of our cultural heritage created in the early days of digital technology, in digital form? If you look at the resources society allocates to the preservation of digital art, you might think: Not much. It is true that the digital age began with digital art. And recently, NFT art has revolutionised the market with record prices, stunning and upsetting those who had been considering themselves experts. But all this does not mean that the public recognises the value of digital cultural assets. At the very least, too little is being done to prevent its loss: Preserving, restoring and archiving digital art professionally, as we naturally do with analogue cultural assets – only a handful of people are even capable of performing those tasks. And for many works that are created and made accessible in the digital space today, strategies for restoration and archiving are completely lacking. Here, art has similar problems as science and administration: the analogue is durable, the digital – still – fragile.

Margit Rosen heads the Department Wissen – Collections, Archives & Research at the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the expert explains the challenges for museums that hold digital collections and are responsible for them. She describes movements in the art scene, describes debates, discourse spaces and actors and shows how urgently society needs to become aware of the transience of its digital culture. With hosts Petra Gehring and Marlene Görger Rosen discusses the concrete questions arising in the process, how relevant the incursion of blockchain technology into the art and museum scene is in this context – and to what extent social media are also art media.

Episode 38 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Margit Rosen of ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, 27 June 2023
Further informationen:

Link to the website of ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe: https://zkm.de/en

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Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag

The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.