Winter is coming. Thankfully not our own AI winter, as we are excited to announce that as you read this newsletter, the first version of the state-of the art analysis on algorithmic decision-making has been launched for open peer-review. More information about the features of the report and the review process can be found below.

This newsletter also includes an interview with Liisa Jaakonsaari, a Finnish MEP for the S&D party, who has asked the European Commission to conduct the study on algorithmic awareness-raising, which has led to the birth of Among other questions, we asked her thoughts on the key opportunities and challenges related to algorithmic decision-making.

In the meantime, we will keep the newsletter short and sweet, highlighting some general updates from policy-makers, controversy in industry, and research results.

If you have any questions or feedback or interesting information to share, we’d love to hear from you:

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your algoaware team

State of the Art Report

After reviewing the literature and consulting a variety of experts, we are proud to announce the release of the first public version of the State of the Art Report open for peer review. The report includes a comprehensive explanation of the key concepts of algorithmic decision-making, a summary of the academic debate and its most pressing issues, as well as an overview of the most recent and relevant initiatives and policy actions of the civil society as well as of national and international governing bodies. The peer-review is executed via four different engagements channels:

  • Consultation of experts with proven knowledge on specific sections of the report.
  • Targeted calls to provide feedback by the subscribers of our Twitter channel, who will be invited to scrutinise our findings by answering questions on the content of the report.
  • Engagement with experts from academia, industry and civil society at presentations and discussions at events and focus groups

Finally, an open call to give feedback is made available through the MetaPDF tool, which can also be found on the algoaware website.

Algoaware asks!

For this edition of the newsletter, we have interviewed Liisa Jaakonsaari, MEP, who was one of the most important figures in the inception process of algoaware. The interview, which you can find here, will tell you more about her motivations for initiating the project and her views on issues related to algorithmic decision-making.



AI as a trademark for Germany – With its “Strategy for Artificial Intelligence”, Germany aims to be at the forefront of new developments in Artificial Intelligence. The AI strategy specifies 12 fields of actions and mentions 3 central aims: Making Germany a hub for the development of AI-technology and securing its economic competitiveness. Ensuring a prudent development and application of AI technology for the common good. Inciting a broad discussion in society about the ethical, legal, cultural and institutional aspects of the effects of AI application on the society.


How artificial intelligence is transforming journalism – Sports news and weather forecasts written by an algorithm: This is something that is reality in Norway since 2016 and which produces reliable results in 99 percent of the cases. Will the introduction of AI necessarily lead to job losses in journalism? The ethical and legal implications of automated news editing can be found in the full article accessible here.


Public attitude toward computer algorithms – In a survey by the Pew Research Center in the United States, participants have voiced broad concerns over the fairness and effectiveness of computer programs making important decisions in the lives of actual persons. The study also captured the public opinion on topics of law enforcement, labour market screening, as well as automatically generated personal finance scores.

Participation process on a quality criteria catalogue for the use of algorithmic systems – For the project #algorules, which aims at developing a quality criteria catalogue on the appropriate and ethical use of algorithmic systems, the German think-tanks iRights.Lab have initiated a public poll to a capture a plurality of opinions (accessible here, in German).

Presentation of “A Governance Framework for Algorithmic Accountability and Transparency” at the European Parliament – Ansgar Koene, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, and colleagues presented their work conducted within the UnBias project to the European Parliament. The report provides details regarding the most pressing issues of AI decision-making processes in both the public and private sectors and also develops policy options for the governance of algorithmic transparency and accountability. See the full talk here (available in Spanish, Czech, German, English and French).


In between 4-6 of December, the European Commission’s ICT 2018 conference will take place in Vienna under the title “Imagine Digital – Connect Europe”. The event will revolve around the European Union’s priorities in the digital transformation of society and industry. One panel will discuss the EU’s strategy to boost innovation in AI research, while simultaneously addressing socioeconomic changes by ensuring an appropriate ethical and legal framework.  More information can be found on our website or the organiser’s site.

Algorithms & Society Workshop – The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is hosting a workshop organised by the Privacy Salon & Law Science Technology and Society (LSTS) on 10 December 2018, which will feature work by academic researchers, civil society representatives, journalists and practitioners working in the area of AI. They will discuss the fundamental questions revolving around the topic of the role algorithms play in society. More information on the event can be found on our website or the organiser’s site.

The Turing Lecture – On 11 December 2018, the Alan Turing Institute will host Sir David Spiegelhalter, Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge University, in London. He will give a talk on the fundamentals, advantages and uncertainties revolving around algorithm-based decision-making. Find more information on the talk on our website or the organiser’s site.

Shaping competition policy in the era of digitisation – In the conference taking place in Brussels on 17 January 2019, prestigious members of politics, business and academia will participate in panels on three thematic areas in order to discuss the implications of digitisation for competition policy. Namely, the experts will talk about Competition, Data, Privacy, and AI; Digital Platforms’ Market Power as well as Preserving Digital Innovation through Competition Policy. More information on the event can be found on our website or the organiser’s site.

Artificial Intelligence: Governing the Game Changer – Taking place in Helsinki on 26 and 27 February 2019, the high-level conference, concentrated around the three main pillars that constitute the Council of Europe core values, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, will scrutinise the impact of AI-based technologies on the functioning of democratic institutions and processes. In order to capture the topic comprehensively, global leaders from different spheres will participate for a multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder dialogue. For more information on the event, see our website or the organiser’s site.

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