Ethics & Bias in Artificial Intelligence

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!


May 7, 2018

Prechtl-Saal - TU Wien

“Future of the Digital Transformation” – Research Study Presentation

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


April 16, 2018

TUtheSky, TU Wien

Symposium “Digital Transformation”

The Centre for Informatics and Society (CIS) of the Faculty of Informatics at the TU Wien invites you to the symposium “Digital Transformation”.

Smart Cities, Industrie 4.0, Social Media and Fake News – digital transformation affects nearly all aspects of our daily lives. Future developments can no longer be examined through any single academic discipline: only a broad, interdisciplinary approach will allow us to develop solutions and answers to the challenges posed by the increasing digitalisation of society.

Following the Vienna University of Technology credo ‘Technology for People’, the Centre for Informatics and Society investigates developments within the intersection of society and informatics, supports research efforts across academic disciplines and facilitates an open discourse through workshops, talks and public events. 

International expert academics from a diverse number of fields – including social informatics, sociology, communication sciences, industry and production management, education / media pedagogy and economy – give insights into aspects of digital transformation within their disciplines. Their talks elucidate the status quo of digital transformation in their fields and provide an outlook on the challenges and opportunities for academic research and higher education, politics and society at large in the coming years.

We are particularly delighted to welcome the Austrian State Secretary for Administration and Public Service, Diversity and Digitalization, Mag. Muna Duzdar, as keynote speaker. 


“Health, Technology, and Automation: Connecting Personal Health, the Health Sector, and Society”
Prof. Eric T. Meyer, Oxford Internet Institute, UK
Eric Meyer is Professor for Social Informatics and the Oxford Internet Institute. His research is focused on the changing nature of knowledge creation in science, medicine, social science, arts, and humanities as technology is embedded in everyday practices. 

“Democracy in a Networked Society” 
Prof. Jan van Dijk, University of Twente, Netherlands
Jan van Dijk is Professor for Sociology and Communication Sciences and the chair of the Centre for eGovernment Studies at the University of Twente. He investigates aspects of the information society in regards to communication, democracy and technology. 

“Manufacturing Work of the Future” 
Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Schlund, Fraunhofer IAO, Stuttgart, Germany
Sebastian Schlund is the Head of the Competency Centre for Production Management at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering in Stuttgart, Germany. His areas of interest include practical research into production methods of the future, Industry 4.0, integrated planning and optimisation of industrial production and logistics as well as age-appropriate workplace systems. 

“Transforming the Digital by Media Education” 
Prof. Christian Swertz, University of Vienna
Christian Swertz is Professor for Media Pedagogy at the University of Vienna. He investigates aspects of education theory and media competency, technology-enhanced learning / eLearning as well as the relationship between digital media and education. 

“Digital Transformation in Political Economy” (tbd) 
Prof. Gerhard Hanappi, TU Wien

Gerhard Hanappi is Professor at the TU Wien and the ad personam Jean Monnet Chair for Political Economy of European Integration. His research includes the topics macro-economics, simulations, game theory and electronic commerce.


As announced at the Symposium, the presentation slides are available for download:

Van Dijk – Digital Democracy in a Network Society

Meyer – Health, Technology and Automation

Schlund – Manufacturing Work of the Future

Swertz – Transforming the Digital by Media Education

Hanappi – Digital Transformation and Political Economy


Event Details

Date:  Monday, 24th of April, 2017, 09:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.
Location: TUtheSky, Getreidemarkt 9, 1060 Vienna, BA Building, 11th floor
Free Entry 

Following the talks, a moderated panel of our speakers will explore differences and commonalities across the fields, and give the audience the opportunity to actively engage the panelists through questions. 

The day’s program will be accompanied by a business lunch, coffee breaks as well as a warm buffet and drinks with the panelists for an opportunity for informal talks after the panel. 

The event will be held in English. 

Due to limited space we would appreciate a short note if you plan on attending via email to


April 24, 2017