When algorithms decide for us: the challenges of artificial intelligence

Expert study


Even though the topic of artificial intelligence has been talked about since the sixties, the advent of deep learning technology seems to be, broadly speaking, fulfilling the expectations placed on algorithms and so-called intelligent systems. Mastering this algorithm technology has become a priority for major American corporations and, through the services they provide, are used by everyone. This raises a number of questions with regard to jobs, governance and digital sovereignty, ethics, etc. Looking ahead, issues such as human enhancement or the fusion of man and machine offer a foretaste of the way this technology might reshape our future .

This interdisciplinary study will evaluate the opportunities and the risks of these new algorithms by concentrating on five main areas: the world of work, education, consumption, media and administration. It will deal with the technological aspects across all disciplines and will analyse the legal and ethical implications associated with these five areas. The study will conclude with an overall evaluation and a set of policy recommendations and options in order to provide a basis for a robust discussion on the topic.


Project duration

start April 2018, end April 2020

Project mandataries


  • PD Dr. Sc. ETH Markus Christen, UZH Digital Society Initiative, Universität Zürich
  • Mag. Dr. rer. Nat. Clemens Mader, Abteilung Technologie und Gesellschaft, Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt Empa
  • Ing. Mag. Soc.oek. Johann Cas, Institut für Technologiefolgenabschätzung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaft

Supervisory group

  • Prof. Jean Hennebert, Comité directeur TA-SWISS, Département d'informatique de l'Université de Fribourg, président du groupe d’accompagnement.
  • Benjamin Bosshard, Eidgenössische Kommission für Kinder- und Jugendfragen
  • Sabine Brenner, Geschäftsstelle Digitale Schweiz, Bundesamt für Kommunikation BAKOM
  • Dr. Christian Busch, Staatssekretariat für Bildung, Forschung und Innovation SBFI
  • Dr. Christine Clavien, Institut Ethique Histoire Humanités, Université de Genève
  • Daniel Egloff, Staatssekretariat für Bildung, Forschung und Innovation SBFI
  • Andy Fitze, SwissCognitive – The Global AI Hub.
  • Matthias Holenstein, Stiftung Risiko-Dialog
  • Dr. Marjory Hunt, Fonds national suisse de la recherche scientifique FNS
  • Manuel Kugler, Schweizerische Akademie der Technischen Wissenschaften SATW
  • Thomas Müller, TA-SWISS Leitungsausschuss, Redaktor Schweizer Radio SRF
  • Katharina Prelicz-Huber, TA-SWISS Leitungsausschuss, vpod-ssp (Gewerschaft im Service public)
  • Prof. Ursula Sury, Hochschule Luzern HSLU
  • Dr. Stefan Vannoni, TA-SWISS Leitungsausschuss, cemsuisse

Project management TA-SWISS

Dr. Catherine Pugin, TA-SWISS

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