Spring Term 2022

Political Behavior and Digital Media

This seminar gives students practical exposure to conducting research on political behavior on digital media. It builds on the reading-based seminar in the fall term in which students developed their own detailed research design. In this second part of the two-semester cycle, students carry out their research projects while receiving regular guidance and feedback throughout the process. Substantive and methodological focus topics will be discussed where appropriate in addition to the individual feedback on the progress of each project. Students are required to give an update on the progress of their project about mid-term. This takes the form of an in-class presentation with an extended Q&A session. The goal is for all students to each have a (near) publication-ready paper at the end of the class.


AI and Politics

The increasing digitalization of our everyday lives, from smartphones to social media, e-commerce or digital public services, is generating an unprecedented amount of data. Fueled by these big data, AI approaches are becoming more and more prevalent. Algorithms affect the way we interact with each other and obtain information which has important implications for social and political processes. At the same time, there are serious concerns related to AI approaches, including their inherent biases and unwanted consequences of algorithmic decision making but also a lack of effective regulation and safeguards. This workshop will first provide an overview of the current state of big data and AI including technical, ethical and regulatory challenges. Working in smaller groups, you will then deepen your knowledge by working on case studies and developing concrete concepts for the responsible use of big data and AI approaches in politics. The block course is designed as a conceptual primer for anyone interested in attaining a basic understanding of AI and politics and does not entail any technical training. There are no prerequisite requirements for this course.