The institute combines interdisciplinary fundamental research with the exploration of concrete solutions in practical labs and the transfer of knowledge in politics, business and society.
Digitalisation is a highly complex process, which permeates all spheres of life, research questions can only be treated in an interdisciplinary manner. The Weizenbaum Institute brings together numerous relevant disciplines – such as the social sciences, economics and law as well as design research and computer science – in a single research agenda and develops a global perspective on the processes of digitalisation in society. In this way, a holistic perspective can be developed on the processes of digitalisation in the networked society.
A central social challenge is to ensure democratic self-determination and participation under the conditions of increasing digitalisation and automation. The question of participation and self-determination in a networked society is at the heart of the Institute’s research. Accordingly, the overarching question of the Institute is:
Self-determination is understood as the individual and collective ability to recognize, use and shape scope for action. It represents a basic presupposition for the democratic organisation of society and a competitive market economy.
In addition, there are accompanying cross-sectional research topics, which focus on overarching questions of ethics and the political organisation of the relationship between technology and society.
At the Institute, 20 research groups conduct research on the ethical, legal, economic and social aspects of the internet and digitalisation. The central questions and research approaches of the research groups are aimed at bringing together different disciplinary perspectives on society and digitalisation. Not only current developments are analysed, but also future options for action for politics, economy and society are identified and made available for public discussion. The research groups are assigned to six overarching research topics.