Research project

Can algorithms calculate morally in situations of conflict? Ethics and digital operationalisation regarding risk assessment in child welfare practice (KAIMo)

The project examines whether institutional action in morally conflicted cases can be supported or even replaced by software programmes. The concrete example of assessing the danger to children in child and adolescent welfare work is used as a basis to analyse whether and how normative criteria can be translated into algorithms to serve as assistive systems for ethically founded decision-making.

Project description
Project team
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Project description

Norms and values guide people’s actions as well as social and political institutions. In light of the progress made in advancing digital tools, we are dealing with the question arises whether institutional decision-making can be digitally supported or even replaced by software programs. Whether and to what extent digital support plays a role in decision-making is particularly relevant in social and moral conflicts in which people have to make ethically and legally difficult decisions on short notice and on the basis of limited resources. Can algorithms help public institutions to act ethically especially in such conflict situations?

Research Questions

Social work

  • How can the normative aspects of decision-making be adequately formulated and help in situations of risk assessments of child welfare?
  • How can professional standards and operational processes be digitally supported?

Philosophy

  • How can the normative aspects of child welfare endangerment be captured (e.g. child welfare, self-determination, fair procedures, avoidance of discrimination)?
  • How can the respective normative criteria be transferred into algorithms, into rational decision-making processes, and into digital social work processes?

Informatics

  • How can the normative criteria be translated into algorithms?
  • What are the consequences of the results and requirements of computer science for the other two disciplines?

Project team

Jennifer Burghardt, M.A.
Research Associate at the Institute for E-Consulting, Nuremberg Institute of Technology
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Dr. Rebecca Gutwald
Research Assistant and Project Coordinator KAIMo at the Chair of Practical Philosophy, Munich School of Philosophy
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Maximilian Kraus, M.Sc.
Research Assistant at the Chair of Socio-Informatics and Social Aspects of Digitalization, University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt
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Prof. Dr. Robert Lehmann
Professor for Social Work, Nuremberg Institute of Technology
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Prof. Dr. Michael Reder
Chair of Practical Philosophy, Vice President of the Munich School of Philosophy
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Prof. Dr. Nicholas Müller
Professor for Socio-Informatics and Social Aspects of Digitalization, University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt
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