Diffusion of Responsibility through Algorithms

Duration: November 2020 until Juli 2022

Algorithms are increasingly infiltrating and influencing the everyday lives of us humans. This technology in itself as well as the increasing interconnectedness cause uncertainty about who bears responsibility and who is the driver of developments. Therefore, the project group “Diffusion of Responsibility through Algorithms” investigated this phenomenon, focusing on the diffusion of responsibility caused by algorithms. Attribution of any rights as well as disappearance of personal responsibilities in algorithm-based decision making are fundamental problems for society, economy, democracy and the state. This joint research project has therefore examined key phenomena of algorithmic decision-making, in which a blurring and shifting of responsibility is observed.

The interdisciplinary research group was able to gain essential insights into the diffusion of responsibility through algorithms in various sectors. At first, considerations from a sociological perspective could be incorporated into the project, such as studies on the role of evaluations in algorithmic contexts as well as research on the socio-technical transformation of self-determined life in the course of digitalization. In the area of internal security, a significant new insight was that algorithmisation is not yet perceived in the legal and social science debate with the same explicitness as in other areas. Nevertheless, initial considerations were given to legal regulation. Regarding the area of judicial decision-making in criminal proceedings, fundamental considerations were made about a possible use of algorithmic decision-supporting risk assessments. Initial findings were obtained from confidential discussions with public prosecutors and judges. Furthermore, comparable “simple” cases in other countries were also identified that are based on algorithmic decisions. Finally, for the area of public law, different phenomena and associated challenges could be identified in particular with regard to the surrounding uncertainty, e.g., on legal issues regarding online elections or in the use of algorithms by the state’s agents.

Principal Investigators

Prof. Dr. Indra Spiecker genannt Döhmann, LL.M. (Georgetown Univ.), Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a. M. | spokesperson | more information»
Prof. Dr. Jörn Lamla, Universität Kassel | deputy | more information»

Prof. Dr. Michael Bäuerle, LL.M., Hessische Hochschule für Polizei und Verwaltung Wiesbaden | more information»
Prof. Dr. Christoph Burchard, LL.M. (NYU), Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a. M. | more information»
Prof. Dr. Gerd Doeben-Henisch, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences | more information»
Prof. Dr. Claude Draude, Universität Kassel | more information»
Prof. Dr. Oliver Hinz, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a. M. | more information»
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kerber, Philipps-Universität Marburg | more information»
Prof. Dr. Jan C. Schmidt, Hochschule Darmstadt | more information»
Prof. Dr. Gerd Stumme, Universität Kassel | more information»

Previous events

Autonomie in Zeiten von Verantwortungsdiffusion durch Algorithmen

Interdisciplinary Conference, 21 September 2022 | more about this event»

Algorithms and the Transformation of Democracy

Digital lecture series, winter semester 2021/22 | more about this event»

“For whom does this fail?” Evaluation standards of and for algorithms

Workshop, 24 January 2022 | more about this event»

Diffusion of Power through Algorithmic Systems – Caught between Control and Trust. An international perspective

Conference, 14 January 2022 | more about this event

Actors of Algorithmically Prepared Decisions

Workshop, 25 October 2021 | more about this event»

Algorithms – between Trust & Control

Digital lecture series, summer semester 2021 | more about this event»

all ZEVEDI topics»