Algorithms // A Brave New World?

Online Lecture Series Wintersemester 2022/2023


Prof. Dr. Christoph Burchard (Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at Goethe University and Principal Investigator of the Research Centre “Normative Orders”, Research Initiative “ConTrust”)

Prof. Dr. Indra Spiecker gen. Döhmann (Professor of Public Law, Environmental Law, Information Law and Administrative Sciences and Principal Investigator of the , Research Initiative “ConTrust”)

Online via Zoom. Registration at is required. Login details will be sent after registration.


Tuesday, 29 November, 18.00
Gillian Hadfield, University of Toronto
Judging Facts, Judging Norms: Training Machine Learning Models to Judge Humans Requires a New Approach to Labeling Data
Abstract: Machine learning-based systems developed to make automated decisions about whether rules are violated will not reproduce human judgments if they are built using currently standard techniques for ML data collection.

Monday, 12 December, 18.00
Kat Geddes, NYU School of Law
Will You Have Autonomy in the Metaverse?
Abstract: The talk describes how computational prediction is reshaping our tolerance for prediction, and undermining institutional commitments to respect for individual autonomy by increasing the likelihood of ex ante intervention in individual decision-making. Prof. Geddes uses examples from criminal justice (algorithmic predictions of recidivism in post-conviction sentencing) and political democracy to illustrate the autonomy-eroding effects of prediction, and she argues that sophisticated computational models are reshaping the prediction-autonomy trade-off.

Monday, 19 December, 18.00, THE LECTURE HAS BEEN CANCELLED!
Hannah Bloch-Wehba, Texas A&M University School of Law
Algorithmic Transparency at a Crossroads
Abstract:This talk examines current proposals to promote or require algorithmic transparency. As nations around the world confront disinformation, misinformation, and extremism online, there is a growing consensus that platforms’ algorithms and amplification mechanisms are worsening these dynamics. New efforts to render algorithms “transparent” to policymakers, journalists, and the public represent an attempt to shed light on the obscure inner workings of social media firms. Algorithmic transparency and disclosure requirements are widely viewed as more appealing than substantive regulation of platforms, which is perceived to be more intrusive. At the same time, transparency and disclosure requirements are also a core feature of a wave of increasingly illiberal legislation meant to kneecap social media platforms and compel them to alter their content moderation techniques. This project takes a comparative approach to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of contemporary algorithmic transparency, auditing, and disclosure requirements. The article critically evaluates whether existing initiatives and proposals are sufficiently dynamic, independent, and rigorous to achieve their stated goals. At the same time, broader algorithmic transparency reforms are underway as states seek to ensure that automated decision systems used in public governance can satisfy due process, equal protection, and open government obligations.

Tuesday, 10 January 2023, 20.00 (!)
Lyria Bennett Mose, UNSW

Wednesday, 25 January 2023, 18.00
Katherine Jo Strandburg, NYU School of Law
Justifying Automated Decisionmaking Systems
While explaining the basis of a decision to decision subjects is often important, this presentation argues that other, less often discussed, information flows, such as explanations and communications between other decision system actors, are at least important in justifying the use of automated decision tools. It will also describe early stage work about the potential for agent-based modeling to play a role in decision system accountability.

Wednesday, 1 February 2023, 18.00
Johann Laux, Oxford Internet Institute
The New Laws of Oversight: What to Do with Human Discretion in the Age of Artificial Intelligence?

Thursday, 2 February 2023, 18.00
Hannah Ruschemeier, FernUniversität Hagen
Datafication and Collectiveness as a challenge for Law
Our society is becoming more and more individualistic, but lacks solutions to challenges that are collective or even universal: globalisation, climate change, digitalisation. The digital transformation leads to the datafication of societies and is a collective phenomenon with many open questions and not nearly enough sufficient answers. In my lecture, I will explain why data-driven digital technologies are caused by and emerge from collective structures, simultaneously unfold collective dimensions of impact and why this is a challenge for law.

Wednesday, 8 February 2023, 18.00
Carina Prunkl, University of Oxford, Institute for Ethics in AI
Can we, will we, and should we have AI judges?

Presented by:
„ConTrust“ – ein Clusterprojekt des Landes Hessen am Forschungsverbund „Normative Ordnungen“ der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurter Gespräche zum Informationsrecht des Lehrstuhls für Öffentliches Recht, Umweltrecht, Informationsrecht und Verwaltungswissenschaften der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main