Vol. 3 No. 3 (2023): Special Issue

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    Peace Journalism in the Digital Age: Exploring Opportunities, Impact, and Challenges
    (Weizenbaum Institute, 2023-12-20 00:00:00) Sehl, Annika; Malik, Muhammad Sultan; Kretzschmar, Sonja; Neuberger, Christoph
    The advent of modern means of communication opens up a wide range of possibilities for individual users, organizations, and governments to connect. This paper argues that the concept of peace journalism can leverage the potential of digital developments to maintain relevance in current times. Five areas of peace journalism’s possible synchronization with media digitalization are deduced and elaborated from a pragmatic perspective to facilitate conceptual advancement: (1) digital distribution, (2) utility of the potential of two-way communication, (3) exploration of new forms of digital storytelling, (4) curation of various digital sources of conflict actors and fact-checking, and (5) incorporation of virtual training and digital skills into journalism curricula. By addressing these aspects of media digitalization, peace journalism outlets can receive acclaim within modern journalistic circles while also attracting wider audience support.
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    Human Experience and AI Regulation: What European Union Law Brings to Digital Technology Ethics
    (Weizenbaum Institute, 2023-12-31 00:00:00) Bryson, Joanna J.
    Although nearly all artificial intelligence (AI) regulatory documents now reference the importance of human-centering digital systems, we frequently see AI ethics itself reduced to limited concerns, such as bias and, sometimes, power consumption. Although their impacts on human lives and our ecosystem render both of these absolutely critical, the ethical and regulatory challenges and obligations relating to AI do not stop there. Joseph Weizenbaum described the potential abuse of intelligent systems to make inhuman cruelty and acts of war more emotionally accessible to human operators. But more than this, he highlighted the need to solve the social issues that facilitate violent acts of war, and the immense potential the use of computers offers in this context. The present article reviews how the EU’s digital regulatory legislation—well enforced—could help us address such concerns. I begin by reviewing why the EU leads in this area, considering the legitimacy of its actions both regionally and globally. I then review the legislation already protecting us—the General Data Protection Regulation, the Digital Services Act, and the Digital Markets Act—and consider their role in achieving Weizenbaum’s goals. Finally, I consider the almost-promulgated AI Act before concluding with a brief discussion of the potential for future enforcement and more global regulatory cooperation.
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    Editorial: Special Issue: Fostering Societal Values in Digital Times – Peace, Care, and Tech Regulation
    (Weizenbaum Institute, 2023-12-31 00:00:00) Neuberger, Christoph; Emmer, Martin; Iglesias Keller, Clara; Krasnova, Hanna; Krzywdzinski, Martin; Metzger, Axel; Schimmler, Sonja; Ulbricht, Lena; Vladova, Gergana
    Joseph Weizenbaum would have been 100 years old on January 8, 2023. This anniversary was a welcome occasion to remember the life, work, and impact of the great computer scientist and public intellectual at the Weizenbaum Institute.  This special issue compiles a series of articles directly or indirectly related to his work. Contributions center on Weizenbaum as an individual and his public role as a progressive intellectual, encompassing contemporary viewpoints on ethics in digital technology.
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    From Joseph Weizenbaum to ChatGPT: Critical Encounters with Dazzling AI Technology
    (Weizenbaum Institute, 2023) Floyd, Christiane
    The paper considers AI systems from a use perspective. It focuses on conversational chatbots, starting from Weizenbaum’s ELIZA and sketching the major scientific advances leading up to ChatGPT. The main discussion builds upon several experiment-reflection cycles conducted by the author to explore ChatGPT as a knowledge resource. The analysis considers ChatGPT responses in terms of accuracy, structure, context, perspective, and bias. The critical evaluation begins with the observation that ChatGPT produces a mixture of clear and precise results and arbitrary misinformation without ever clarifying its own scope. This leads to the identification of the system’s key problem, namely, how it contends with truth, which involves replacing the idea of truth with a probabilistic surrogate based on textual correlation. In responsible use, a system like ChatGPT must be embedded in a human learning culture. A framework for this process should include an insistence on truthfulness, an impulse towards enhancing human competence, and strengthened responsibility structures within communities.
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    Digital Volunteers during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Care Work on Social Media for Socio-technical Resilience
    (Weizenbaum Institute, 2023) Schmid, Stefka; Guntrum, Laura; Haesler, Steffen; Schultheiß, Lisa; Reuter, Christian
    Like past crises, the COVID-19 pandemic has galvanized individual volunteers to contribute to the public response. This includes digital volunteers who have organized physical aid and conducted social media activities. Analyzing German volunteering support groups on Facebook and related Reddit threads in the context of COVID-19, we show what types of help are offered and how social media users interact with each other to cope with the situation. We reveal that most users offering help online mostly perform typical care work, such as buying groceries or giving advice. Crucially, volunteering is characterized by relationships of care. This means it builds on affirmative interactions. In spite of some misdirected offers and regressive interruptions, people use the possibility to make their voices heard and, showing empathy, help each other to live with the crisis. Social media like Facebook mediate societal structures, including relationships of care, offering a space for the continuous, cumulatively resilient conduct of care work. Reflecting on the traditional division of labor in crisis volunteering and counter-productive dynamics of care and empathy, we aim to articulate a feminist ethics of care that allows for interactions on social media that foster generative computer-supported collaboration.