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Responsibility and the Internet of Things

The aim of our research group was to comprehensively map the field of "Responsibility and the Internet of Things" and to make new contributions to unanswered questions concerning "ubiquitous responsibility and data platforms". While responsibility of technical actors has been a recurring theme in science and politics since antiquity, its scope is now expanding. Within the framework of our research, we considered the concept from an ethical-moral and legal point of view as well as with regard to technical feasibility.

This research group conducted research at the Weizenbaum Institute from 2017 to 2022. In the newly launched research program, research will henceforth be organised in 16 research groups. These will be flanked and supported by the new Weizenbaum Digital Science Center.

In the era of the "Internet of Things"

The multidisciplinary research team identified white spots in research, investigated buzzwords, keywords, and concepts from "Industry 4.0" or "Smart Citizenship" to data platforms with regard to responsibility, liability and regulation. Despite its name, the "Internet of Things" is not about "things on the Internet", but about a huge market with new products and a new currency called "data".

We tackled following questions:

  • When was the term "Internet of Things" coined by whom and in which context?
  • How is this topic reported on, which narratives can be observed, who participates in the discourse, which voices are heard?

These and other questions should be asked and satisfactorily answered as part of a comprehensive discourse analysis. The "Topoi Catalogue", which we have designed, serves to simplify the finding of data, figures of thought and literature for a specific question.

We were developing a knowledge tool based on the Sustainability Development Goals of the United Nations for discovering data platform scenarios and recommendations for political action.


Prof. Dr. Bettina Berendt, Director, Principal Investigator
Dr. Stefan Ullrich, Research Group Lead

  • Evelyn Adams
  • Hauke Carmienke
  • Hans-Christian Gräfe, LL.M.
  • Dr. Andrea Hamm
  • Karla Herb
  • Santiago Infantino Moreno
  • Jacob Kröger
  • Aurelia Kusumastuti
  • Dr. Sarah Lenz
  • Dr. Pat Treusch
  • Theofanis Vassiliou-Gioles