On January 21, 2022, the Düsseldorf Institute for Internet and Democracy (DIID) invited to the Winter Retreat. Due to the pandemic situation, the retreat was held online once again, nevertheless there was a lively discussion culture and many exciting presentations by members of the DIID as well as some guests.
The retreat was opened by Prof. Dr. Christiane Eilders, speaker of DIID, with some current projects. For example, the “DigiBest” project, which is being conducted in cooperation with the Nexus Institute. Funded by the German Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Disposal (BASE), the researchers are working on improving the participation of young people in the process of searching for final repository sites.
We are also happy to announce that the DIID Monitor project is being continued. In cooperation with institutes from Leipzig, Dresden and Koblenz, municipalities and districts from various German states are being investigated in regard to the implementation of digital participation methods.
A book publication on the #meinfernsehen2021 project, which was carried out last year in cooperation with the Grimme Institute and the Federal Agency for Civic Education, should also be mentioned. The central question is whether the mission of public broadcasting is still appropriate in a digital society.
The event continued with a presentation by Professor Dr. Christoph Bieber from CAIS (Center for Advanced Internet Studies). Prof. Dr. Bieber presented the research program: Digital Democratic Innovations, which was launched at the Cais in October 2021. Here, two research groups are investigating, on the one hand, the impact of digitalization on political organizations and democratic elections and, on the other hand, the impact of digital spaces and smart city environments on democratic participation.
The first part of the retreat was concluded with a presentation by Dr. Dennis Frieß and Maike Behrendt. The project on Supporting Political Decisions through Artificial Intelligence, or UPEKI, has been in its second funding phase since January 21, 2022. At its core is the use of AI tools to improve the deliberative quality of digital discussions. In addition to gaining analytical scientific insights, the researchers want to develop a toolkit that can be used by institutions to foster digital discussions.
After a short break, Kerstin Franzl introduced the Nexus Institute. As an institute for cooperation management and interdisciplinary research, the Nexus Institute is currently working on concepts of cyber security and networking platforms for digital youth work, among other things.
Clear intersections with a current project at HHU can be found in the Nexus project KIDD- Ki in the Service of Diversity, which is about the development of non-discriminatory algorithms.
Overlaps with the KIDD project can be found in the RAPP project, presented by Professor Dr. Stefan Conrad, Johannes Krause and Bettina Ülpenich, which is currently being developed at HHU. RAPP stands for Responsible Academic Performance Prediction, which is a non-discriminatory prediction of dropouts, final grades and study time.
To round off the conference, Professor Dr. Jörg Rothe from the Institute of Computer Science gave a lecture on altruism in game theory. Using various hedonic games as examples, he presented diverse forms of altruism that are analyzed in game theory. Depending on the model, completely different behavioral patterns emerge. In the following discussion, the application of the presented models to anti-vaccine scene and the analysis of AI as well as digital agents were discussed, among other topics.
The DIID team would like to thank all members and external guests for their contributions and the exciting discussions.