When algorithms decide for us: the challenges of artificial intelligence

Expert study


Even though the topic of artificial intelligence has been talked about since the sixties, the advent of deep learning technology seems to be, broadly speaking, fulfilling the expectations placed on algorithms and so-called intelligent systems. Mastering this algorithm technology has become a priority for major American corporations and, through the services they provide, are used by everyone. This raises a number of questions with regard to jobs, governance and digital sovereignty, ethics, etc. Looking ahead, issues such as human enhancement or the fusion of man and machine offer a foretaste of the way this technology might reshape our future .

This interdisciplinary study will evaluate the opportunities and the risks of these new algorithms by concentrating on five main areas: the world of work, education, consumption, media and administration. It will deal with the technological aspects across all disciplines and will analyse the legal and ethical implications associated with these five areas. The study will conclude with an overall evaluation and a set of policy recommendations and options in order to provide a basis for a robust discussion on the topic.


Project duration

starting April 2018, scheduled to end June 2019

Project mandataries


  • PD Dr. Sc. ETH Markus Christen, UZH Digital Society Initiative, Universität Zürich
  • Mag. Dr. rer. Nat. Clemens Mader, Abteilung Technologie und Gesellschaft, Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt Empa
  • Ing. Mag. Soc.oek. Johann Cas, Institut für Technologiefolgenabschätzung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaft

Supervisory group


  • Jean Hennebert, Leitungsauschuss TA-SWISS, Département d'informatique de l'Université de Fribourg, President of the supervisory group
  • Benjamin Bosshard, Eidgenössische Kommission für Kinder- und Jugendfragen
  • Sabine Brenner, Bundesamt für Kommunikation
  • Christine Clavien, Institut Ethique Histoire Humanités, Université de Genève
  • Andy Fitze, SwissCognitive – The Global AI Hub.
  • Manuel Kugler, Schweizerische Akademie der Technischen Wissenschaften SATW
  • Christian Mottas, Schweizerischer Nationalfonds
  • Thomas Müller, Leitungsauschuss TA-SWISS, Redacteur Radio SRF
  • Katharina Prelicz-Huber, Leitungsauschuss TA-SWISS, Präsidentin Vpod, Alt-Nationalrätin
  • Ursula Sury, Rechtsanwältin und Professorin Hochschule Luzern
  • Stefan Vannoni, Leitungsauschuss TA-SWISS, CemSuisse

Project management TA-SWISS

Dr. Catherine Pugin, TA-SWISS (E-Mail)

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