Webinar Culture and AI, July 6, 2021 14:00-17:00 CET

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While AI is an intensively debated topic, the impact of AI on the social and cultural life is less investigated. This will be highlighted in the webinar. The webinar will consist of talks of three experts in the domain of AI and culture and will conclude with a plenary discussion of the speakers.


  • Sascha Dickel

Title: "Communicative Robots and (Post-)human Identities"

Abstract: With the rise of communicative robots like Amazon’s Alexa, language-based interaction with machines is increasingly becoming part of our everyday life. This presentation uses the case of communicative robots to investigate the changing relationship between humans and machines. I suggest that communicative robots challenge established boundaries of the social world but nevertheless reproduce a cultural asymmetry between human and non-human actors.

Person: My research profile connects an academic background in sociology with a transdisciplinary career trajectory in science & technology studies. One of my major research fields are the challenges of digital technologies for society and social theory.

  • Christoph Bläsi

Title: "AI in editing, marketing, and using books. What do we know about potential effects on taste and creation?"

Abstract: In the publishing industry, AI applications are not only used in general management and marketing, but increasingly also at the core of its value chain, in editorial work. After an overview about such applications, the book usage process (buying, reading) and its support and / or surveyllance by AI systems will be focused. Anecdotal evidence (corresponding platforms don´t talk much about what they do ...) and insights from other media systems (film, music) inform a research project that has just started and will research particularly algorithmic recommendations and their effects on cultural tastes and possibly also the creation side.

Person: Christoph Bläsi is a professor for book / publishing studies at JGU´s  Gutenberg Institute for World Literature and Written Media. His main areas of interest are digital publishing and book business as well as the application of digital humanities methods to book studies research problems. More recently, he has been starting research on AI applications in the book industry as well as on the effects of recommender engines on cultural tastes.

  • Petra Ahrweiler, Dr. Martin Neumann, Dr. Frederick Herget

Title: How does AI shape social change in the domain of public policy?

Abstract: the lab for sociology of technology and innovation of the JGU Mainz will provide an overview of ongoing research projects on the influence of AI on social change.  This will be illustrated at two examples: One example is algorithmic assessment for social welfare provision. Research is undertaken in a bidirectional way: It is studied how AI assesses humans and how humans assess AI. A second example is cognition in navigating political landscapes. It is investigated whether AI based complexity reducing devices foster the rise of political populism.

Person: The lab of Professor Petra Ahrweiler is investigating the sociology of technology and innovation. Professor Ahrweiler received her PhD for a study on AI and obtained her habilitation for a study on simulation in Science and Technology Studies. Her lab investigates whether and how new technologies and innovations have the potential to redraw the image of our society in a completely new way. Dr. Frederick Herget will talk about algorithmic assessment for social welfare provision. Dr. Martin Neumann will concentrate on the impact of AI on navigating political landscapes.

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Neue Publikation des Arbeitsbereiches (in Evidence based HRM)

Ein Artikel in der Zeitschrift Evidence based HRM wurde veröffentlicht: "Siebers, Ü., Herath, D., Bardone, E., Farahbakhs, S., Knudes, S., Madsen, J. Mufti, M., Neumann, M., Richards, D., Seri, R., Secchi, D. (2020). On the quest for defining organizational plasticity. Evidence based HRM: a global forum for empirical scholarship (online first)

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Workshop des Arbeitsbereichs im Rahmen des Projekts AI NAVI

Im Rahmen des Projekts AI NAVI hat der Arbeitsbereich vom 08. bis 10. Juli einen Workshop im Kloster Nütschau durchgeführt. Im Fokus des Workshops stand der menschliche Umgang mit Komplexität in Entscheidungssituationen und dem Bestreben zur Reduktion derselben. Das Programm umfasste eine Mischung aus formellen Präsentationen, partizipativer Gamification, experimentellen Formaten und inter-aktiven Diskussionen.

Das Projekt "Artificial Intelligence Navigation of Complex Social Landscapes (AI Navi)" untersucht den Einfluss von Künstlicher Intelligenz (KI) auf menschliche Denk- und Entscheidungsprozesse in ver-schiedenen sozialen Bereichen.

Neue Publikation des Arbeitsbereichs: Kommentar der Europäischen Social Simulation Community zur aktuellen COVID-19 Pandemie

Computational Models That Matter During a Global Pandemic Outbreak: A Call to Action

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a dramatic loss of lives worldwide, challenging the sustainability of our health care systems, threatening economic meltdown, and putting pressure on the mental health of individuals (due to social distancing and lock-down measures). The pandemic is also posing severe challenges to the scientific community, with scholars under pressure to respond to policymakers’ demands for advice despite the absence of adequate, trusted data. Understanding the pandemic requires fine-grained data representing specific local conditions and the social reactions of individuals. While experts have built simulation models to estimate disease trajectories that may be enough to guide decision-makers to formulate policy measures to limit the epidemic, they do not cover the full behavioural and social complexity of societies under pandemic crisis. Modelling that has such a large potential impact upon people’s lives is a great responsibility. This paper calls on the scientific community to improve the transparency, access, and rigour of their models. It also calls on stakeholders to improve the rapidity with which data from trusted sources are released to the community (in a fully responsible manner). Responding to the pandemic is a stress test of our collaborative capacity and the social/economic value of research.

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Vortrag "Understanding the World with AI: Training and Validating AI Systems Using Synthetic Data" – Philipp Slusallek

16:00-18:00 Uhr
Raum 03-134 im SBII

Der Arbeitsbereich Technik- und Innovationssoziologie, Simulationsmethoden lädt in Kooperation mit KI@JGU (einer 2018 gegründeten Arbeitsgruppe von Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern aus vielen Fachbereichen und anderen Institutionen der JGU, die entweder Forschung an KI betreiben oder KI für ihre Arbeit einsetzen (z.B. in der Hochschullehre)) zu einem Vortrag zum Thema „Understanding the World with AI: Training and Validating AI Systems Using Synthetic Data„ von Prof. Dr.-Ing. Philipp Slusallek, wissenschaftlicher Direktor am Deutschen Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz (DFKI), ein.

Über rege Teilnahme würden wir uns sehr freuen, eine zusätzliche Anmeldung ist nicht erforderlich.


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Neues Forschungsprojekt "AI FORA"

Die VW Stiftung fördert das Forschungsprojekt AI FORA im Rahmen eines Planning Grants, welches die Grundlage für mehrjähriges Forschungsprojekt durch ein Full Grant bietet. Der Arbeitsbereich übernimmt dabei die Koordination eines interdisziplinären und internationalen Konsortiums, welches sich mit hochaktuellen Fragestellungen zur künstlichen Intelligenz befasst: Was sind die Auswirkungen einer zunehmenden Bewertung von Menschen durch Systeme künstlicher Intelligenz und wie reagiert die Gesellschaft auf diese Entwicklungen? Welche sozialen, politischen, rechtlichen und ethischen Implikationen besitzen diese modernen Computerprogramme, die immer mehr in gesellschaftliche Strukturen diffundieren?