Saturday, August 31, 2019

Super-Scoring? Data-driven societal technologies in China and Western-style democracies as a new challenge for education | Interdisciplinary Conference | 11 October 2019 | Cologne, Germany

I am delighted to pass along information about an upcoming conference: Super-Scoring? Data-driven societal technologies in China and Western-style democracies as a new challenge for education which will take place on 11 October 2019 in Cologne, Germany.  The symposium consists of four thematic blocks, each based around three impulses from interdisciplinary perspectives. Each impulse will be accompanied by a written comment in the run-up to the event.  This project has been funded and supported by Grimme-Forschungskolleg an der Universität zu Köln and Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (bpb).

The Conference blog may be accessed HERE (English and German) .  More information about the Conference (including registration information and links to some of the papers) follows below.

From the Conference Concept Statement:
The term “Super-Scoring” refers to practices that assess individuals and influence collective behavior on the basis of digitally recorded and algorithmically evaluated data. These practices bring together scoring systems and scales from different areas of life, such as economic credit, health behavior, or academic achievements, and could evolve into a new and overarching principle of governance in digital societies. A particularly prominent example is the Social Credit System in China. Platform-based scoring practices and digital sociometrics are also gaining importance in Western societies. What is the current state of some of the practices being developed in China and Western societies?  How may we assess individual and societal consequences? How is our image of humanity changing, and how should political and general education react to these digital transformations? . . .  At the conference, we will present current concepts and concrete implementations of data-driven social governance processes that implement digital and surveillance technologies; will discuss their normative foundations and socio-political impacts; and will particularly strive to identify consequences for educational policy and best recommendations for action. We will focus on the individual as observed through digital technologies, as their characteristics and behaviors are mapped in numerical values ​​- point systems, scores and, in particular, super-scores – which are then further processed, evaluated, and economized in societal processes of control. The conference and the portal are intended to promote scientific and public discourse on the social-physical and digital-technological control of societal processes.

General Information

The conference language is English. Participation in the conference is by registration; it is free of charge. The online registration is open, please apply here (Anmeldung/Bewerbung auf Deutsch hier). The conference is open for scholars and scientists from relevant disciplines, decision-makers in politics and education, and specialist and science journalists.The conference takes place in Cologne, Germany: Früh am Dom, Früh Lounge, entrance: via Eden Hotel, Sporergasse 1, 50667 Köln (near the Cathedral). If you arrive by car, you will find a map with parking garages here.


Opening and welcome
Frauke Gerlach (Grimme-Institute)
9:45 – 11:15
Social Credit System in China (case study)
Chair: Björn Ahl
  • Evolution of the Social Credit System: A Public Law Perspective
    Yongxi Chen (Hong Kong University)
  • Beyond “Digital Big Brother”: Five things to understand about China´s Social Scoring System Mareike Ohlberg (Mercator Institute for China Studies, MERICS, Berlin)
  • Blacklists and Social Credit Regimes in China Larry Catá Backer (Pennsylvania State University) (speaker´s essay)
11:15 – 11:30
Coffee break
11:30 – 13:00
Scoring-Practices in Western-style democracies (case studies)
Chair: Stephan Packard
  • Scoring is not a new phenomena: we can learn from experience how to deal with scoring 
    Gert G. Wagner (Max Planck Institute for Human Development, MPIB, Berlin) (speaker´s essay)
  • Personal Scoring in the EU: Not quite Black Mirror yet, at least if you‘re rich
    Nicolas Kayser-Bril (AlgorithmWatch, Berlin) (speaker´s essay)
  • Data Scores as Governance: Mapping and Analysing Changing Practices in the UK Joanna Redden (Cardiff University)
Lunch break
14:00 – 15:30
Interdisciplinary discussion and evaluation of individual and social consequences
Chair: Stephan Packard
  • Shared responsibilities? The future of scoring in the context of shifting baselines and public science
    Stefan Selke (Furtwangen University)
  • Presentation 8 Lorena Jaume-Palasí (The Ethical Tech Society)
  • Identity and Integrity: The Ethical Relevance of Super-Scores Christiane Woopen (CERES; University of Cologne)
Coffee break
16:00 – 17:30
Educational conclusions and recommendations for action
Chair: Harald Gapski
  • Ethical Aspects of Algorithms and Scoring in Pedagogical and Social Work Contexts –
    Nadia Kutscher (University of Cologne)
  • Being scored but informed – how to boost people´s risk literacy for public discourse – Felix G. Rebitschek (Harding Center for Risk Literacy)
  • Scoring practices – consequences for education in democratic societies –
    Isabel Zorn (TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences)

Snacks and Networking

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