Algorithms – Between Trust and Control

Lecture Series

Algorithms – and the actors behind them – are surveying and impacting ever more dimensions of our modern lives. They recommend which movies to watch; they calculate risk appropriate credit scores; and they play a role in meting out “just” punishment; to only name a few areas. At the same time, they correct imperfect human decisions and add new informational dimensions to decisions prior  impossible. To assess and evaluate the impeding transformations of normative orders in a predictive society, we approach algorithms in light of the juxtaposition of trust and control. Why and under which conditions do – or don’t – we trust algorithms? Indeed, can and should we trust them? Especially because their algorithmic normativity was (not) produced in justificatory fora where trust is brought about in and through social conflicts? But then, how much trust – if any – should algorithms put into us as citizens? For example, do they have to presume us non-dangerous and harmless? Vice versa, how much control do we need to retain over algorithms? And how much control should they exert over us? Can we use algorithms to control the effect of algorithms and thus create a meta-level of trust? Especially in order to negate, or as a matter of fact: to entertain, the freedom to deviate in the algorithmic society? These are but a few of the questions that internationally renowned speakers raise in “Algorithms between Trust and Control”, a lecture series convened by Indra Spiecker gen. Döhmann and Christoph Burchard, and co-organized by the research clusters ConTrust, Normative Orders and ZEVEDI in the line of the Frankfurt Talks on Information Law and under the auspices of Goethe University Frankfurt am Main.

The lectures will take place via Zoom. Please register at to receive the login data.

Poster and Programme (PDF): Here…

To download the ics file with all dates: Click here…


Prof. Dr. Christoph Burchard (Goethe University, Professor of Criminal Justice, PI of ConTrust and “Normative Orders”) and Prof. Dr. Indra Spiecker gen. Döhmann (Goethe University, Professor of Public Law, PI of ConTrust)


Thursday, 22 April 2021, 18.00-20.00 CEST
Never apologise, never explain: (How) can AI rebuild trust after conflicts?
Burkhart Schäfer (University of Edinburgh, Professor of Computational Legal Theory)
Opening Remarks by Prof. Enrico Schleiff (President of Goethe University)
Opening Remarks by Prof. Rainer Forst (Speaker of ConTrust and Normative Orders)
Welcoming Remarks & Comment Prof. Klaus Günther (Dean of the Faculty of Law Goethe University)

Wednesday, 5 May 2021, 18.00-19.30 CEST
From Eugenics to Big Data: A Genealogy of Criminal Risk Assessment in American Law and Policy
Jonathan Simon (UC Berkeley, Professor of Criminal Justice Law)

Wednesday, 19 May 2021, 18.00-19.30 CEST
„Recommended for You“: Das Informationsproblem in Märkten für Kulturgüter und die Kontrollfunktion von Empfehlungsalgorithmen
Vinzenz Hediger (Goethe University, Professor of Cinema Studies, PI of Contrust)

Thursday, 27 May 2021, 18.00-19.30 CEST
Zahlen lügen nicht? – Von trügerischer Objektivität und historic bias bei algorithmenbasiertem Kreditscoring
Katja Langenbucher (Goethe University, Professor of Civil Law, Commercial Law and Banking Law)

Thursday, 10 June 2021, 18.00-19.30 CEST
Algorithm Watch – Von A wie Accountability bis Z wie Zertifizierung: Kann und sollte eine zivilgesellschaftliche Kontroll-Organisation zu mehr Vertrauen beim Einsatz von Systemen zum automatisierten Entscheiden beitragen?
Matthias Spielkamp (Algorithm Watch)

Monday, 14 June 2021, 18.00-19.30 CEST
Das vermessene Leben
Vera King (Goethe University, Professor of Sociology and Social Psychology, Managing Director of the Sigmund-Freud-Institut; PI of ConTrust)

Tuesday, 15 June 2021, 18.00-19.30 CEST
„Kontrolle trotz(t) Komplexität“: Wie Datenschüzer ihre unlösbare Aufgabe bewältigen
Stefan Brink (Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz, Baden-Württemberg)

Wednesday, 23 June 2021, 18.00-20.00 CEST
Virtual Roundtable
The Freedom to Deviate in the Algorithmic Society?
Lucia Zedner (Oxford, All Souls College, Professor of Criminal Justice)
Bernard Harcourt (Columbia Law School, Professor of Law and of Political Science)
Frank Pasquale (Brooklyn Law School, Professor of Law)
Christoph Burchard (Goethe University, Professor of Criminal Justice etc.)
Indra Spiecker gen. Döhmann (Goethe University, Professor of Public Law etc.)
Jürgen Kaube (Co-Editor at Large, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

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