Centre for Informatics and Society (CIS)
Founded in 2016, our Centre for Informatics and Society seeks to bridge the gap between academic research and technological advancements in Informatics and the societal impact and challenges arising from these developments.
The Centre for Informatics and Society (CIS) is a research initiative, situated at the Institute for Visual Computing and Human-Centered Technology at TU Wien Informatics. The CIS represents part of our ongoing efforts to support knowledge and technology transfer as defined within the university’s development plan in section C, “Society”. After an initial 3-year incubation process as a faculty-level initiative, the CIS now continues its teaching and research efforts as part of the Artifact-based Computing and User Research Group. The active research projects are maintained through external funding and supported by staff of the research group.
Technology for People
Technological advancements have always created unique challenges for both academic research and society in general. Given the pervasive nature of today’s ICT and the rapid technological progression of innovation, the consequences of these developments are seldom clear and need to be carefully considered from a multitude of perspectives. Following TU Wien’s motto ‘Technology for People’, the Centre for Informatics and Society investigates developments within the intersection of society and informatics, supports research efforts across academic disciplines and facilitates an open discourse through workshops, talks and lectures.
Fairness, Accountability and Transparency
As automation technologies are growing increasingly ubiquitous throughout society - from social media, governance and administration to healthcare - ensuring the fairness, transparency and accountability of these systems becomes a matter of vital importance. At the C!S, we investigate emerging applications, such as the profiling system developed by the Austrian Labor Market Service (“AMS Algorithm”), and develop material solutions as part of our DEBIAS project to improve the fairness of existing social processes such as the applicant selection process for job interviews through socio-technological means. Among others, the C!S is responsible for the development of the Critical Algorithm Studies seminar, which engages master students of all Informatics curricula to reflect about ethical questions related to algorithmic systems, conduct case studies and investigate issues of transparency and accountability in the wild. Ongoing research cooperations include TU Wien’s own Center for Technology and Society, the Institute for Technology Assessment (ITA) at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and the Sustainable Computing Lab at WU Wien.