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Lecture Series ASSD

Following its lecture series, on this website the cross-section format “Autonomous systems & self-determination (ASSD)“ presents its lectures, discussions, presentations as well as further material by the invited speakers.

Unfinished – the artifcially intelligent muse | Roman Lipski and Florian Dohmann | July 2019

Roman Lipski (l), Florian Dohmann (r)
Roman Lipski (l), Florian Dohmann (r)

Roman Lipski is a painter living in Berlin, whose art is exhibited in internationally renowned museums and is represented in prominent collections. Together with Florian Dohmann – technologist, member of the artist collective YQP and founder of the company Birds on Mars – he develops the first artificially intelligent muse for creatives. The new source of inspiration for the painter Lipski not only challenges his own artistic potential, but also finds innovative approaches for expression and aesthetics in dialogue with human and machine. In their lecture, the two speakers visualize their vision of a harmonious cooperation of human and machine and illustrate, using concrete examples, the cooperative potential of AI to support us humans in our creative abilities and talents.

Digital networks as a techno-legal problem | Prof. Dr. Herbert Zech, Director and Principal Investigator, Weizenbaum Institute | June 2019

Prof. Dr. Herbert Zech
Prof. Dr. Herbert Zech

The increasing influence of digital networks in all areas of life also means that they change societal values and react to changes in preferences. In his lecture, Herbert Zech discusses how social networks influence the regulatory goals underlying the law. The degree of connection is an important characteristic of particular areas of societal development. Digital networks can be interpreted as technological innovations that are then addressed by the typical technical-legal regulatory tasks. Apart from advancing innovation and enabling technology transfer, this includes limiting and allocating risk. The classic technical-legal model of risk regulation, however, has its limits. The perspective of regulation is not uncontroversial and is challenged by the complexity of potential external effects. An example is the continuously re-negotiated conception of privacy.

How much autonomy is necessary? | Prof. Dr.-Ing. Norbert Gronau, Principal Investigator, Weizenbaum Institute | May 2019

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Norbert Gronau
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Norbert Gronau

One of the promises of the fourth industrial revolution is the self-organization of industrial process chains. But how much autonomy is possible and, most importantly, economically and organizationally necessary? The lecture will address interdisciplinary approaches to the understanding and calculation of autonomy and present a procedure for determining the necessary autonomy on the basis of the objectively measurable conditions of the organization. The outlook of the lecture will discuss the possibilities and limitations of the transfer of this approach to social systems.

A feeling of complete speechlessness – buzzwords are supposed to orient us in the “new“ territory | Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Coy, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | April 2019

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Coy
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Coy

In his lecture, Wolfgang Coy discusses buzzwords like digitalization, algorithms, Big Data or Artificial Intelligence. These buzzwords have two major properties: They are often used in a very fuzzy way in the everyday life of journalism and politics and they therefore overarchingly serve not to clarify matters but to obscure them. Moreover, they are taken from complex scientific and technological contexts that are not fully understood by the users – who, for this reason, cannot assess their potential and their limits realistically. Instead, opportunities and (mostly economic) potentials, but also fears and risks are brought into the discussion, are financed and are used as a foundation of consequential decisions about the future.

Blockchain Technology – Autonomy for the IT-elite, new vulnerabilites for the rest? | Rainer Rehak, research group „Quantification and Social Regulation“, Weizenbaum Institute | March 2019

Reiner Rehak
Rainer Rehak

The blockchain enticingly promises to make intermediaries of social interactions superfluous. At the moment, these have to be trusted, which produces dependencies, as the banking crisis painfully proves. Notaries and banks would become unnecessary through the blockchain. But the power of actors is not dissolved in the blockchain, rather it shifts towards new and most importantly illegitimate and uncontrolled centers of power. As interesting as the blockchain is from a technological standpoint, it is not a substitute for classical political action and the regulation of power. In his lecture, Rainer Rehak discusses the ideas behind blockchain and autonomy.

The Ethical Gestalt of Autonomous Security Systems | Prof. Dr. Thomas Burri, University St. Gallen | February 2019

Thomas Burri
Prof. Dr. Thomas Burri

In his lecture, Thomas Burri will present the first comprehensive “Evaluation Schema“ for autonomous security systems, including weapons systems, which he developed together with an interdisciplinary team of researchers under the leadership of Dr. Markus Christen (University of Zurich). Prof. Burri will discuss the system’s strengths and weaknesses and show how and where to extend it in the future.

How autonomous are so-called autonomous weapon systems – a conceptual critique | Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Kreowski, University Bremen | December 2018

Hans-Jörg Kreowski
Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Kreowski

For more than ten years, unmanned weapon systems and especially killer drones have been in use. They operate semi-autonomously and especially the use of weapons is not yet decided independently by the systems. But the development of fully autonomous weapon systems is already in progress. This is highly alarming and dangerous, since this does not only cause a gigantic arms race and an increased risk of war, but also brings with it considerable technical and, connected to them, ethical problems. The term “autonomy“, for instance, is misleading in the context of weapon systems, as these are programmed systems that decide on life and death on the basis of their programs.

Note: All content is licensed under the open access license "Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Germany" unless otherwise noted. (CC BY-ND 3.0 EN)

Suggested citation: Butollo, Florian; Eyert, Florian; Irgmaier, Florian; Rehak, Rainer (Eds.) (2021) Lecture Series "Autonomous Systems & Self-Determination" at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society.