On 01.07.2022, the DIID Summer Retreat finally took place again in Präsenz after almost two years. The members of DIID and some external guests met at Schloss Mickeln, a conference center of Heinrich Heine University in Alt Himmelgeist.
At the beginning of the retreat, Institute spokesperson Prof. Dr. Christiane Eilders welcomed the participants.
In terms of content, Prof. Dr. Christian Pieter Hoffmann kicked things off. He is Professor of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Leipzig and a member of the Center for Digital Participation (CDP). This is an interdisciplinary institute that focuses on research into digital participation.
After a short presentation of the structure and goals of the CDP, Professor Hoffmann reported on completed and current projects of the institute. Among other things, researchers at the institute are dealing with the detection, but also the constructive use of deepfakes in a recently launched project.
Alexander Smolianitski, Chief Digital Officer of the City of Düsseldorf, then reported on participation and digitization in the context of local government. The city of Düsseldorf has drawn up guidelines for a “responsive city”, the aim of which is to orient the digitization and further development of the city to the interests of its citizens. To this end, the first step will be to record the needs and interests of citizens. These will then be analyzed and compared with the principles and self-image of the city administration. In the last step, the needs are translated into concrete measures.
Afterwards, Dr. Jonas Fegert from the Research Center for Information Technology presented a project for the visualization of construction measures. Using augmented and virtual reality technologies, the researchers visualized construction measures and investigated whether this increases the willingness to participate and the interest in the topic. It was found that virtual reality is particularly suitable for strengthening the interest of citizens in such measures.
After a short break with coffee and cake, Dr. Uta Brunner presented the Junior Scientist and International Researcher Center (JUNO). The basic aim of JUNO is to support young scientists, with a special focus on mobility, equality and diversity.
The JUNO has set itself the goal of establishing support services and creating orientation aids. These are to be oriented concretely to the experiences and wishes of the postdocs concerned. JUNO is charged with implementing a guideline discussion for postdocs at HHU. For this purpose, JUNO and DIID cooperate. Ms. Brunner presented initial ideas for this participation process for discussion.
Afterwards, Peter Kotzian talked about trust in and use of artificial intelligence in decision-making within companies in his presentation “Behavioral Approaches to Acceptance of Artificial Intelligence”. Thus, AI aversion, i.e. a skeptical to rejecting attitude towards artificial intelligence, is a decisive factor in many areas, which massively limits the constructive use of artificial intelligence.
The event concluded with a broad discussion on the DIID project #meinfernsehen2021 from different perspectives.
Prof. Dr. Christiane Eilders introduced the discussion with a short presentation of the project. Starting with the guiding question of whether and how public broadcasting (ÖRR) must change due to digitization. Together with the Grimme Institute and the Federal Agency for Civic Education, the DIID created a participation platform where citizens could contribute their opinions on the topic.
The project resulted in an anthology, which was recently completed.
Dr. Frauke Gerlach from the Grimme Institute then looked at participation in the context of the ÖRR from a legal perspective. In the recent past, there have been repeated attempts on the part of the ÖRR to enable participation in the reform of the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty.
Until now, these procedures have largely been criticized as non-transparent and poorly accessible. Especially here, further research in the field of digital participation can help by creating well-founded procedural rules and guidelines.
Jonathan Seim then spoke about the composition of the group of participants in #meinfernsehen2021 from a normative perspective. The requirements of representativeness and diversity are often in conflict with each other, especially against the background of low numbers of participants and limited resources.
Diversity was particularly relevant in the #meinfernsehen2021 project, as the aim was to integrate as many opinions and perspectives as possible from different strata of the population Although on the one hand too few young and low-educated people took part, on the other hand the integration of “normal” citizens could contribute to the diversity of the overall social discourse.
Furthermore, based on the collected data, the moderation in online proceedings was analyzed from the perspective of deliberative quality in different short presentations. Dominique Heinbach and Lena Wilms showed that the moderation on the participation platform was on the one hand dedicated to the containment of incivil comments. On the other hand, the moderators often asked the participants for further information and explanations in order to strengthen the deliberation.All in all, it was surprising that the participation was so civil on such an emotionally charged topic.
Sarah-Michelle Niehaus and Henri Mütschele then spoke about argumentation and narration as central components of deliberative discourse.
In addition to rational arguments, narration was also looked at in order to include moral evaluations and feelings in the analysis on the one hand, and on the other hand not to exclude people who lack the language ability to express themselves argumentatively.
It was found that the majority of comments were based more on rational argumentation and less on narration.
Finally, Dr. Oliver Märker, managing director of the investment service provider Zebralog, reported on the ARD Future Dialogue. The basic motivation of the Future Dialogue was similar to that of #meinfernsehen2021.
Also based on a participation project, the Future Dialogue found nine major thematic complexes related to the reform of the ÖRR, including the topics of education, diversity of opinion and sports.
The results will be published transparently with regular updates on implementation.
After the exciting presentations, the evening ended with a relaxed barbecue. We would like to thank all participants and look forward to the next events.