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Digital credit scoring: How data analytics decide to whom to lend and not to lend money

When we open a bank account, apply for a loan or sign a mobile phone contract, we are usually asked to agree to a credit check – in Germany for example with Schufa. Those who request such a score about us hope to get a reliable statement about whether we are likely to meet our financial obligations. But how does this information come about? Big Data and Artificial Intelligence make it possible to use completely new strategies for this question, with which more individual, possibly more precise or even “fairer” scores could be created. This is where FinTechs come in, which – unlike Schufa – could basically use our entire digital footprint for their scores: Automated processes find patterns and correlations with which aspects of all areas of life can be translated into financial data. Whether the results, which include not only income and payment behaviour but also musical tastes and jogging routes, always correspond to reality is one question – another is whether personal characteristics play a role that are actually affected by the ban on discrimination. Because, as studies show time and again: AI models seem to systematically discriminate against socially disadvantaged groups. And loan sharks can also profit from this automated perpetuation of social injustice, depending on the legal situation.

Katja Langenbucher is a professor of civil law, commercial law and banking law at the House of Finance at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. One of her research focuses is the usage of artificial intelligence in the financial sector. In this episode of “Digitalgespräch”, the law expert explains the considerations behind the development of new types of AI models for scoring, which problems they raise or might help to solve, and where regulatory needs arise. Together with hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Langenbucher discusses differences between scoring providers, also in international comparison, and which justice problems require an open democratic debate, also at the EU level.

Episode 32 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Katja Langenbucher of Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, 31 January 2023
Further informationen:

Link to Katja Langenbucher’s guest article „KI-basiert ermittelte Kreditausfallrisiken mit Vorsicht zu genießen“ in Börsen-Zeitung: https://www.boersen-zeitung.de/kapitalmarktforschung/ki-basiert-ermittelte-kreditausfallrisiken-mit-vorsicht-zu-geniessen-91ff697a-673e-11ed-a8ee-76a419d2158f

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

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Privat- und Vollstreckungsrecht der Tokenisierung

Interdisciplinary Workshop

Thursday, 19 January 2023, 12:00 – 17:00 (CET)

Internal workshop hosted by the project group Tokenized Finance (ToFi) at EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht, Wiesbaden.

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Biochemistry meets computer science: How we can store digital data in DNA

Up to now, there are no forms of long-term digital archiving: the longest-lived hard disks and tapes are intact for no more than 50 years. After that, the data that was stored on them is lost. And even if chips and hard disks seem to be getting smaller and smaller, their compactness will reach natural limits at some point. At the same time, more and more important processes are taking place in the digital realm, we are collecting more and more digital data and developing new ideas and concepts to integrate information technologies into everyday life and technical processes. Our culture is also expressed in the digital, digital values and works are created. So the need for innovative storage media that can be used flexibly on the one hand and last for centuries and millennia on the other is there. One promising candidate in the search for solutions is DNA. How is it possible to translate digitality into this biochemical substance? And what new possibilities do then arise?

Prof. Dr Robert Grass researches and teaches at the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences at ETH Zurich, where he works in particular on making DNA usable as a storage medium: He has co-developed a process in which DNA remains preservable in tiny glass beads for many millennia – and at the same time can be read when needed. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the scientist and inventor explains how this is done, what challenges exist and what future visions he and his colleagues have for the development of this new storage technology. He describes possible applications for industry and business on the one hand and the archiving of digital as well as digitised cultural assets on the other. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Grass discusses analogies between natural and technical processes and which difficult tasks absolutely must be solved if archives – especially digital ones! – are to be not only intact but also understandable in the distant future.

Episode 31 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Robert Grass of ETH Zurich, 20 Dezember 2022
Further informationen:

Link to film of the European Patent Office presenting and explaining the work of Robert Grass and Wendelin Stark as part of the European Inventor Award: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–4B0Pg4pf8 (English and French subtitles available)

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

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Responsible Interaction With Anthropomorphic Robots: An Interdisciplinary Challenge

Workshop

26 January 2023, 9:00 – 12:00 CET
leap in time Lab, Darmstadt

Forum for Interdisciplinary Research (FiF) at Technische Universität Darmstadt and ZEVEDI’s pilot project RoboTrust are organizing a workshop on “Responsible Interaction With Anthropomorphic Robots: An Interdisciplinary Challenge”. The joint workshop will discuss issues related to robot psychology, robotic transparency, robotic learning, liability, privacy, and emotion and context recognition. Furthermore, it will focus on the conditions for success of new robotic technologies and how possible obstacles can be overcome.

More details:
https://www.fif.tu-darmstadt.de/formate/formate_details_46016.de.jsp

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Looking into your own financial future: Digital Pension Transparency

Who has a feel for or let alone knows the financial situation they will face when old? Especially when retirement is still a few decades away, it seems impossible to really plan ahead for it. And so we wait. And again and again, we put off the question of whether our money will be enough. Especially when we fear there might be a significant gap. In fact, many people don’t realise that they have to become active themselves in order to make a living in their old age. And when one realises the problem of a “pension gap”, what can actually be done? The situation is utterly complex : savings, assets and possible insurances are just the start. Inflation and the development of the housing market also come into play. For non-experts, the topic easily comes across as too demanding – hence, a typical case for digital aids. Is it possible, factoring in data, constraints and individual factors, to compute forecasts and even alternative scenarios for someone’s pension?

Andreas Hackethal is professor of finance at the House of Finance at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a.M. The economist researches household finance. And at Goethe-Universität, he is developing an elaborate app for simulating one’s own financial circumstances in old age – the “pension cockpit”. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, Hackethal explains why it is so difficult for many people to get a good idea of their own financial future and how an app can help to close such knowledge gaps. He describes how the complex app project came about and what is important when it is implemented. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Hackethal discusses how it affects your decisions today when you know their effects on your future pension, what opportunities this opens up for individuals and families – and what political consequences it can have to make pension gaps transparent.

Episode 30 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Andreas Hackethal of Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a.M., 30 November 2022
Further informationen:

Link to the article on the “pension cockpit” in the magazine Brigitte (in German): https://www.brigitte.de/academy/finanzen/rente-berechnen–so-geht-es-12798828.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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Responsible algorithmic decision-making in the workplace

Interdisciplinary Lecture Series

Continuously, beginning on Monday, 5 December 2022, 15:00 (CET)

Online via Zoom (Zoom links see programme)

Algorithmic decision-making (or “ADM”) already has a significant impact on how our modern workplace is organised, whether it be through the selection of new hires, managing employees in their daily business, or assisting human decision-makers in the context of complex problems.

Against this background, the project group Responsible Algorithmic Decision Making in the Workplace is organising a series of lectures that will look at these developments from an interdisciplinary and international perspective. Among other things, the following questions will be addressed: How should work contexts shaped by ADM be designed to promote responsible treatment of workers? What technical, organisational and regulatory framework conditions should be established in such contexts?

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go to project group Responsible Algorithmic Decision Making in the Workplace»

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Gaming culture for everyone: people, debates and a billion-dollar market

What may once have been a gaming scene of insiders has long since been adopted by the full spectrum of society. Across all age groups and social classes, most Germans play video games – to relax or to shorten waiting time, as a serious hobby or even as a profession.  But not everyone who plays games would also like to describe themselves as a gamer. Although video games are recognised as a cultural asset, their public perception still seems to be dominated by the prejudice of the male, rather young gamer who spends far too much time with Shoot ’em ups – which in the worst case make people aggressive, but in any case are a waste of time. The large group of gamers and developers, however, is much more open and diverse; the gigantic range of video games is correspondingly versatile. So what do the gaming worlds look like today? What happens  apart from the infamous first-person shooters? And is gaming always “just” about entertainment?

Rae Grimm is Head of Digital Publishing at Webedia Gaming GmbH and responsible for their magazines GamePro, GameStar and MeinMMO. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the expert for video game cultures describes which facets gaming offers today and what characterises different scenes. She explains what constitutes innovation, what is important to gamers and developers and what innovations and debates occupy the gaming world. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Grimm discusses the social significance of video games and video game criticism, the gaming industry – and the uneasy feeling that chatting with AI-based, digital “friends” can give you.

Episode 29 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Rae Grimm of Webedia Gaming GmbH, 8 November 2022
Further informationen:

Link to Rae Grimm’s report “Wie ich ein Wochenende nur mit KIs geredet und fast den Verstand verloren habe” https://www.gamepro.de/artikel/ki-mental-health-verstand-verloren,3378382.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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Digital playing fields in music production

It has been ages since listening to music did require being in the same place as the musicians themselves. However, digitalisation has absolutely transformed the production, availability and consumption of recorded music. And alongside with it, the music market: we have become used to as good as any piece of music being available at any time, and – at least in private – practically free of charge. If we wish to experience music as something exclusive and special, we have to seek or create such opportunities consciously and intentionally. With the possibility of recording and distributing music via streaming platforms, however, it is not only our relationship to music as a cultural event that has fundamentally changed: Digital technologies are bringing about a variety of upheavals in music production itself; a development that is perceived, evaluated and embraced – or refused – in very different ways by musicians and fans alike.

Sociologist David Waldecker researches and teaches at the Media Studies Department of Universität Siegen and has intensively studied how music is produced in audio recording studios. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the expert explains the significance of the studio and its respective technical equipment for music production, both historically and in a contemporary context. He describes the possibilities that digitality offers – both for amateur music makers, who can now independently produce their own music, and for professional musicians and producers. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Waldecker discusses the tensions that can arise between digitality and authenticity and how digital technologies shape our listening habits. And, after all, what importance does the distinction between “analogue” and “digital” actually have when we engage in making, listening to and experiencing music?

Episode 28 of Digitalgespräch, feat. David Waldecker of Universität Siegen, 18 October 2022
Further informationen:

Link to the article “Machine Learning in Context, or Learning from LANDR: Artificial Intelligence and the Platformization of Music Mastering” by Jonathan Sterne and Elena Razlogova:
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2056305119847525

Link to David Waldecker’s book “Mit Adorno im Tonstudio” on the sociology of music production:
https://www.transcript-verlag.de/978-3-8376-5701-2/mit-adorno-im-tonstudio/

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

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Robo Advisory & Crypto Investments: Case Studies and Critical Reflections

Interdisciplinary Workshop

7 November 2022, Online

Normative questions raised by digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are particularly salient in financial markets. Algorithmic trading systems are widespread, and robo advice has long been established on the market. Against this background, the joint workshop “Robo Advisory & Crypto Investments: Case Studies and Critical Reflections” hosted by the project groups Regulatory theories of Artificial Intelligence and AI & Finance – Innovation, Resilience and Responsibility combines insights from banking practice and banking supervision with regulatory and social science considerations. Furthermore, it also contrasts German and European regulation with US regulatory approaches.

Monday, 7 November 2022, 14:00 – 17:00 CEST
Online via Zoom

The workshop will he held in German, with the last talk being held in English.

Registration until 6 November by e-mail to
till.vonposer [at] jura.uni-marburg.de

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to ZEVEDI project group Regulatory theories of Artificial Intelligence »

to ZEVEDI project group AI & Finance – Innovation, Resilience and Responsibility »

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Death, mourning and legacy: What changes through digitality?

Death poses great challenges to each and every individual. Whether it is to understand and accept one’s own mortality or to integrate the death of an important, perhaps beloved person into one’s own continued life. Just as digitalisation is changing our lives, it adds new dimensions to the end of our life. On a practical level, tasks arise in the care of estates, which raise their own technical, legal and also ethical questions through online accounts, identities on the net and digital communication traces. But mourning and remembrance are also seeking and finding new – also more individual – ways of expression in digital spaces by expanding the physical places, temporal boundaries and established patterns of our rituals.

Stephan Neuser is Secretary General of the Bundesverband Deutscher Bestatter e. V. and a lawyer. He experiences on a daily basis the changes that digitality brings to the way people deal with death. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the expert provides insights into new possibilities, requirements and needs that are leading to a change in funeral culture and answers questions about the digital estate. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, he discusses digital forms of mourning and remembrance culture, how they tie in with existing practices and motifs – complementing or reinterpreting them – and what significance the “analogue” retains in the process or also: acquires anew.

Episode 25 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Stephan Neuser of Bundesverband Deutscher Bestatter e. V. , 16 August 2022
Further informationen:

Webseite of Deutscher Bestatter e. V.

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Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag

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