About the Project

In the project “reframe[Tech] – Algorithms for the Common Good”, we are committed to ensuring that efforts to develop and use algorithms and artificial intelligence are more closely aligned with the common good: For this purpose we develop solutions for managing algorithmic risks and motivate to harness the potential of algorithms for public interest concerns.

The debate about the impact of algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) on society has come a long way. In more and more areas of society, our everyday life involves interacting with algorithmic systems. Much has been written and published in recent years to help ensure that ethical considerations play a relevant role in the design and use of algorithms. Nevertheless, algorithmic risks often get brushed aside in practice. At the same time, we see key technologies being developed almost exclusively for economic purposes and to maximize efficiency, while their potential for public interest concerns remains largely untapped.

This calls for new approaches and has informed our decision to close the chapter on the “Ethics of Algorithms project and launch its successor, “reframe[Tech]”. As a society, we need more than a discussion on the ethics of algorithmic systems – we need concrete and binding efforts to implement ethical principles into practice. In addition, we need to look at the relevant trends, power structures, and challenges presented by the development of technology in a larger context in order to mitigate algorithmic risks and leverage societal opportunities.

With reframe[Tech], we aim to help ensure that the design and use of algorithms and AI are more closely aligned with the common good. The following two priorities will inform the project team’s activities over the next three years: “Mitigating Algorithmic Risks” and “Harnessing Potential for the Common Good.” Building up competencies in the public sector and civil society will be integral to both priorities.

1. Mitigating Algorithmic Risks

  • reframe[Tech] seeks to identify public-interest gaps in regulatory proposals. As part of this effort, we will prepare a landscape reporting on the current state of the discussion across Europe by mapping AI governance approaches. In addition, we will work together with experts from politics, public administration and civil society to develop practical policy recommendations
  • reframe[Tech] aims to further develop and disseminate effective governance instruments to promote a more transparent and understandable use of technology by the state. Our first project involves advocating for the introduction of an AI transparency register in Germany.
  • reframe[Tech] aims to facilitate capacity-building in the public sector so that decision-makers and employees alike can actually use algorithms and AI to serve the common good and monitor their impact. We will start by determining the specific competencies required through surveys and a self-assessment tool.
  • reframe[Tech] aims to close the large gap in knowledge about human-software interactions in order to prevent either a sense of overconfidence or an unfounded aversion to automated decisions among users. We will be determining particularly relevant factors through a series of expert workshops and in-depth psychology studies.

2. Harnessing Potential for the Common Good

  • reframe[Tech] aims to bring practical examples of common good-oriented algorithm use into the discourse and support their dissemination. We will begin by publishing further discussion papers and examining promising use cases in other countries for their transferability to the German context.
  • reframe[Tech] aims to help civil society organizations improve their capacity to harness the potential of algorithms and AI in achieving their missions for the benefit of their target audiences. We are therefore active in the European AI Fund, are designing a fellowship program for social welfare organizations, and are further developing the NewNew program.
  • reframe[Tech] aims to improve the framework conditions needed for more common good-oriented technology development. We will begin by identifying the most urgent needs in the ecosystem and through a participatory process provide evidence for which changes can be implemented in what way.

You can find out more information about our work on our blog.