Workshop on the Influence of Bots and Algorithms

07/20/2018

“I am often surprised that so much trust is being given to the Internet, since it can put democracy at risk”, said one participant of the youth council of the project “Culture of Conflict 3.0”. The statement illustrates the core of the workshop: the sensitization for a critical and reflected behavior in the internet.

For the third time, the youth council met in the context of the project. This time, the youth dealt with the question of how social bots and algorithms influence opinion making in the internet. Moreover, they discussed possible impacts of these particular phenomena on democracy and a pluralistic society.

Aytekin Celik, referent of the Media Academy Baden-Württemberg, accompanied the first day of the workshop. The participants dealt with possible consequences of artificial intelligence, algorithms and bots. In groups, they discussed the use of algorithms in areas like personnel decisions and police work. The second day was about the social consequences of social bots, algorithms and information bubbles. Everyone seemed to agree that these bubbles are dangerous because they can lead to a confirmation bias that reinforces particular worldviews and excludes other views and that it is hard to break out of their own information bubbles.