Projekt FairADM is funded by BW-Stiftung

Research on the social effects of artificial intelligence funded with 850,000 euros

As part of a new research program for the public welfare-oriented use of artificial intelligence (AI), three projects at the University of Mannheim are being funded by the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung.

AI plays an increasingly important role in many areas of life – and raises fundamental legal and ethical questions. The Baden-Württemberg Foundation has now announced a new funding programme on the topic of „Responsible Artificial Intelligence“ and has awarded ten projects – three of which are carried out by scientists from the University of Mannheim. Funding will be given to research projects that investigate the interaction of AI technologies and society.

„The fact that three out of ten funded projects are located at the University of Mannheim is a great success for us,“ said Prof. Dr. Heiko Paulheim, who heads two of the successful research projects. „This confirms Mannheim's central role in the fields of data science and artificial intelligence.“ The interdisciplinary projects form a joint cluster at the Mannheim Center for Data Science, involving Prof. Dr. Thomas Fetzer, Prof. Dr. Frauke Kreuter, Prof. Dr. Heiko Paulheim and other scientists from a total of four faculties.

Fairness and discrimination in automated decision-making processes
The project „Fairness in Automated Decision-Making (Fair ADM)“ by Prof. Dr. Frauke Kreuter, Dr. Ruben Bach and Dr. Christoph Kern from the Chair of Statistics and Social Science Methodology, deals with discrimination and fairness of algorithm-based decision-making processes (Automated Decision-Making, ADM) in the German public sector. „While ADM systems optimize bureaucratic procedures through automation, their use also raises new social and ethical questions,“ says Prof. Dr. Frauke Kreuter. It is feared that ADM could increase existing social discrimination. For example, ADM systems are already being used in the U.S. to assess the risk of recidivism of defendants in the context of legal proceedings. A particularly sensitive field of application of ADM in the European context is the assessment of job seekers' chances on the labour market, e.g. for the allocation of training resources, which has recently been proposed by the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS). There is a risk that sensitive characteristics such as gender, age or marital status are brought into the algorithmic decision-making process and thus influence the distribution of resources. In order to shed more light on this and to empirically investigate methods to correct unfair algorithms, the project develops and evaluates an ADM based on administrative labour market data. This research is supported with 171.000 Euro.

Read more about the projects in the University's press release (in German)

Link zur Pressemitteilung der Baden-Württemberg Stiftung: