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Volksabstimmungen und Algorithmen in der Schweiz: Intransparente Priorisierung von politischen Informationen

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How can science and society collaborate to prevent search engines from potentially providing unequal access to information about popular votes in Switzerland?

Project Objective

Our ability to inform ourselves about societal developments increasingly depends on AI-driven systems such as Google. The algorithms behind such search engines influence the functioning of democratic systems like in Switzerland, where citizens regularly make decisions in popular votes. AI-driven systems can thus facilitate the functioning of direct democracy but also affect it: a particular risk identified in previous research is that these systems grant unequal access to information to different groups of citizens, depending on the language in which they search for information.

The project aims to raise awareness of this issue and to demonstrate ways in which scientists, decision-makers, and society in Switzerland can collaborate to address this risk of unequal access to information in the context of popular votes.

February 2,  2023

Kick-off Franxini Innovation Hub. A project group is formed and the project objective is defined.

March 17, 2023

Boot Camp Sprint for Franxini Hub participants to understand how the issue can best be brought to politics.

March and April

Interviews with stakeholders from research, politics, and administration.

June 9, 2023

Storytelling Workshop for Franxini Innovation Hub participants.

July to September

Developing a solution in the form of a whitepaper based on stakeholder interviews and the workshop with various stakeholders held on May 16th.

Project Team

We are three communication and data scientists from the Universities of Zurich and Bern. Our goal is to raise awareness of this issue and to demonstrate solutions.

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