| Research Projects | Promoted | Can algorithms calculate morally in situations of conflict? Ethics and digital operationalisation regarding risk assessment in child welfare practice (KAIMo)
bidt background

Can algorithms calculate morally in situations of conflict? Ethics and digital operationalisation regarding risk assessment in child welfare practice (KAIMo)

The project examines whether institutional action in morally conflicted cases can be supported or even replaced by software programmes. The concrete example of assessing the danger to children in child and adolescent welfare work is used as a basis to analyse whether and how normative criteria can be translated into algorithms to serve as assistive systems for ethically founded decision-making.

Project description

Norms and values guide people’s actions as well as social and political institutions. In light of the progress made in advancing digital tools, we are dealing with the question arises whether institutional decision-making can be digitally supported or even replaced by software programs. Whether and to what extent digital support plays a role in decision-making is particularly relevant in social and moral conflicts in which people have to make ethically and legally difficult decisions on short notice and on the basis of limited resources. Can algorithms help public institutions to act ethically, especially in such conflict situations?

Research Questions

Social work

  • How can the normative aspects of decision-making be adequately formulated and help in situations of risk assessments of child welfare?
  • How can professional standards and operational processes be digitally supported?

Philosophy

  • How can the normative aspects of child welfare endangerment be captured (e.g. child welfare, self-determination, fair procedures, avoidance of discrimination)?
  • How can the respective normative criteria be transferred into algorithms, into rational decision-making processes, and into digital social work processes?

Informatics

  • How can the normative criteria be translated into algorithms?
  • What are the consequences of the results and requirements of computer science for the other two disciplines?

    The project was completed by 30 March, 2024.

Contact

Dr. Christoph Egle

Managing Director, bidt

Project team

Prof. Dr. Nicholas Müller

Professor, Socio-Informatics and Social Aspects of Digitalization | Technical University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt

Prof. Dr. Michael Reder

Chair of Practical Philosophy, Vice President of the Munich School of Philosophy

Prof. Dr. Robert Lehmann

Professor for Social Work, Institute of Technology | Nuremberg

Maximilian Kraus

Research Assistant, Chair of Socio-Informatics and Social Aspects of Digitalization | Technical University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt

Dr. Rebecca Gutwald

Research Assistant and Project Coordinator KAIMo, Chair of Practical Philosophy | Munich School of Philosophy

Jennifer Burghardt M.A.

Research Associate, Institute for E-Consulting | Nuremberg Institute of Technology

Dr. Christopher Koska

Research Associate and Project Coordinator KAIMo, Chair of Practical Philosophy | Munich School of Philosophy