From 22 to 24 November 2019, the German Forum of Computer Scientists for Peace and Social Responsibility (FIfF) held its annual conference at the University of Bremen. The overall theme was Künstliche Intelligenz als Wunderland.
The conference offered 11 plenary talks of high quality and 7 working groups crossing the fields of labour, ethics, climate, culture, military, and surveillance. The large audience that populated the conference was highly responsive to the prepared inputs. With reference to Joseph Weizenbaum who was co-founder and board member of the FifF, one could conclude the message: “We should not ask what is the impact of computers on society. We should rather ask what is the purpose of computers we use!”
Three students were awarded the “Weizenbaum Studienpreis”. The first place was made by a PhD student who investigated the case of four German universities that had agreed to a so-called “Zivilklausel” to prevent military research on their campuses. Those norms have been circumvented through “dual use” and collaboration with non-university organisations. Two second places were reached by a master student of computer science working on the history of encryption policy in the United States and a master student of social sciences working on legitimation problems of German administration measures concerning migrants.
In the year before, the Forum had joined an initiative of ten German organisations in the fields of net, environment and development policy for a sustainable digitalisation. See that link: bits-und-baeume.org.
FIfF shows an increase in members. Hans-Jörg Kreowski, Head of the GSIS Emergent Systems Group, was again elected Board Member during the general meeting of the group. Wolfgang Hofkirchner is Council Member.