May 7, 2018

Prechtl-Saal - TU Wien

Ethics & Bias in Artificial Intelligence

May 7, 2018

The Vienna Deep Learning Meetup and the Centre for Informatics and Society invite you to an evening of discussion on the topic of Ethics and Bias in AI. As promising as machine learning techniques are in terms of their potential to do good, the technologies raise a number of ethical questions and are prone to biases that can subvert their well-intentioned goals.

Machine learning systems, from simple spam filtering or recommender systems to Deep Learning and AI, have already arrived at many different parts of society. Which web search results, job offers, product ads and social media posts we see online, even what we pay for food, mobility or insurance – all these decisions are already being made or supported by algorithms, many of which rely on statistical and machine learning methods. As they permeate society more and more, we also discover the real world impact of these systems due to inherent biases they carry. For instance, criminal risk scoring to determine bail for defendants in US district courts has been found to be biased against black people [1], and analysis of word embeddings has been shown to reaffirm gender stereotypes because of biased training data. While a general consensus seems exist that such biases are almost inevitable, solutions range from embracing the bias as a factual representation of an unfair society to mathematical approaches trying to determine and combat bias in machine learning training data and the resulting algorithms.

Besides producing biased results, many machine learning methods and applications already in use today raise complex ethical questions. Should governments use machine learning and AI methods to determine the trustworthiness of their citizens (cf. [3])? Should the use of algorithmic systems that are known to have biases be tolerated to benefit some while disadvantaging others? Is it ethical to develop AI technologies that might soon replace many jobs currently performed by humans? And how do we keep AI and automation technologies from widening society’s divides, such as the digital divide or income inequality?

These and many more questions and issues need a broad and multidisciplinary discussion to ensure a fair and overall beneficial future of AI and related technologies. This event aims to provide a platform for debate in the form of two keynotes and a panel discussion with five international experts from numerous scientific fields.

This event has already happened. Watch the recording of the live stream, or take a look at the photos!


April 16, 2018

TUtheSky, TU Wien

“Future of the Digital Transformation” – Research Study Presentation

April 16, 2018

The Centre for Informatics and Society (C!S) of the Faculty  for Informatics at the TU Wien invites to a presentation of a research study based on the Delphi method focusing on the future of the Digital Transformation.

The C!S was founded in 2016 with the mission to investigate the issues and questions arising between academic research, technological advancements and the challenges and consequences society faces due to those developments.

The current study was conducted during the last months of 2017 and investigates consequences, challenges and future prospects of the Digital Transformation with an interdisciplinary approach based on the participation of a number of international  experts from a variety of academic disciplines. The goal of this Delphi study was to determine whether a group of experts can come to  a consensus regarding which areas of society will be most affected by the Digital Transformation, which technologies will be most relevant to that change and which issues introduced by those technologies and their widespread use require particular attention.

The results of the study will be presented to the audience in an easily accessible way. Following this, a moderated panel of representatives from politics, business, academia and public administration will help start a broad conversation about the results of the study specifically as well as general future prospects for the Digital Transformation in general.

The event will be held in German.

Download Results and Slides


Tech-Briefing: Blockchain Technologien

October 3, 2017

It is part of the mission of the CIS to discuss current topics and issues situated within the realm of technology and society and, at the same time, bridge the gap between academic research and economy. To this end, the CIS held a tech briefing on blockchain technologies for a renowned Viennese law firm.

The goal of the briefing was to explore the technical background of the blockchain, crypto-currencies and some more advanced applications of these technologies, without resorting to overly technical descriptions or simplifications. The topics covered, among others, were basics of the blockchain, private/public key encryption, basics of cryptocurrencies and an overall comparison of crypto-currencies.

The following slides are from that presentation:

CIS Blockchain Technologies Präsentation [PDF]

For questions, please contact us at cis [at]