Institute for Technology Assessment and  Systems Analysis (ITAS)

Governance of and by Algorithms (GOAL)

  • Project team:

    Grunwald, Armin (Project spokesperson ITAS); Carsten Orwat (Project leader ITAS); Christian Wadephul; Anja Folberth; Jascha Bareis

  • Funding:

    Federal Ministry of Education and Research

  • Start date:


  • End date:


  • Project partners:

    Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Institut für Informations-, Telekommunikations- und Medienrecht – Zivilrechtliche Abteilung (Institute for Information, Telecommunications and Media Law – Civil Law Department); Universität Hamburg, Fakultät für Mathematik, Informatik und Naturwissenschaften, Lehrstuhl für Ethik in der Informationstechnologie (Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences, Chair of Ethics in Information Technology); Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Fakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaft, Lehrstuhl für Makroökonomik (Faculty of Economics, Chair of Macroeconomics); Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Department of Computer Science, Algorithmic Accountability Lab

  • Research group:

    Digital Technologies and Societal Change

Project description

Algorithms are no longer used only for automated data processing and information and knowledge generation, but are also increasingly becoming core elements of systems for automated decision support and execution of decisions. This includes decisions that have a significant influence on people’s way of living and their opportunities for free personal development and – as decisions on differentiation of individuals – raise questions of justice and equal treatment. Likewise, algorithms or the software systems containing them are used for behavioral control and thus themselves have a regulatory effect, a development which is discussed under the keywords “algorithmic regulation” or “governance by algorithms.”

The project aims to investigate possible needs for and approaches to governance, options for action or forms of regulation relating to the consequences of the use of algorithms, especially artificial intelligence. The options for actions are derived from the analysis of the risks to the realization of social values arising from the use of algorithms, such as the threat to informational self-determination, discrimination risks, and thus questions of justice and equal treatment or the threat to the rule of law. Further foundations are provided by investigations on different application types of algorithms that are considered particularly risky, as well as on the possibilities of realizing social values in the development and application of algorithms. In addition, existing governance structures are reviewed with respect to gaps in protection or regulatory problems.

The project’s work focuses on the further development of complex governance structures and on the functioning interaction of different areas, instruments, and forms of regulation as well as on the legitimacy and capability of development of the emerging governance structures. The study of algorithm- and data-based instruments for behavioral control will also examine in more detail the potential opportunities and limitations of governance through technology within complex institutional arrangements.

Project website:


Folberth, A.
Grundrechtliche und datenschutzrechtliche Aspekte der KI-basierten Videoüberwachung.
2021. Videoüberwachung mit KI Unterstützung - funktioniert Sicherheit durch Überwachung? (2021), Online, February 13, 2021 
Folberth, A.; Bareis, J.; Orwat, C.; Wadephul, C.; Jahnel, J.
Normative Entscheidungen in der risiko-basierten Regulierung von KI und AES: Eine Erweiterung algorithmischer Fairness in der Risikodebatte.
2020. Summer School des Projekts "Governance von und durch Algorithmen" (GOAL 2020), Online, June 23–24, 2020 
Orwat, C.
Diskriminierungsrisiken durch Verwendung von Algorithmen.
2020. Summer School des Projekts "Governance von und durch Algorithmen" (GOAL 2020), Online, June 23–24, 2020 


Dr. Carsten Orwat
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-26116