Hosting a session on algorithms and automatisation in government at ÖFIT 2017

On 23 November 2017, I hosted a discussion round about algorithms and automatisation in government at the annual conference of the Kompetenzzentrum Öffentliche IT (ÖFIT). ÖFIT is a project at the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems that acts as a think tank on the uses of information technology in government and society, financed by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior. Their annual conference 2017 dealt with the effects of algorithms and datafication on government, media and individual rights.

I was initially requested as a speaker, but then reshuffled to host the discussion. Instead, Christian Djeffal talked about guidelines for artificial intelligence in government, Peter Parycek outlined the impact of Big Data analytics on the policy cycle, and Klaus Lenk placed the topic in a broader sociological perspective. They were later on joined on the discussion panel by two member of the Bundestag, Saskia Esken (SPD) and Anke Domscheit-Berg (LINKE).

Despite my questions, the discussion remained at a quite abstract level, which shows that the development is still in its early stages and that we need more discussions around concrete use cases.

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