Institut für Kognitionswissenschaft

Institute of Cognitive Science

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Predicted futures?

Our new project "Predicted Futures?" was launched in April 2024 with funding from the "zukunft.niedersachsen" program of the Ministry of Science and Culture, Lower Saxony. We are delighted to have Theater Osnabrück and Kunsthalle Osnabrück at our side as cooperation partners.

The project looks at the concept of predicted futures from two perspectives: On the one hand, we focus on the social and societal impact of predictions in predictive analytics. Secondly, we offer a critical examination of the narrative of technological determinism by presenting technology and society as interwoven processes. Through intergenerational dialogues, we want to encourage young people in particular to actively participate in shaping AI technologies.

The following components will be carried out as part of the project:

Introductory event: KI Macht Zukunft? Interactive panel discussion on Tuesday, June 11

What stories surround artificial intelligence and how do they influence our ideas of the future? Who tells these powerful future narratives? Which voices and lived experiences are being ignored? What counter-narratives can be articulated that allow for multiple voices? And finally: How can art and science contribute to highlighting the social, political and ethical challenges in dealing with AI?

We want to discuss these and other questions together with Anna Jehle and Juliane Schickedanz from Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Ulrich Mokrusch from Theater Osnabrück, Prof. Rainer Mühlhoff and you on June 11, 2024, at 6:30 pm. After a short keynote speech, there will be an interactive part where you will have the opportunity to discuss your ideas and desirable AI futures. We look forward to your participation!

- Tuesday, June 11, 6:30 p.m.
- Studierendenzentrum, Kolpingstraße 1a
- Admission to the event is free. Registration is not required.

Workshops with school classes

In cooperation with Theater Osnabrück, which is staging the dystopian science fiction play "(R)Evolution" by Yael Ronen and Dimitrij Schaad in the current season, we offer workshops for school classes to delve deeper into the topics covered. Together with the pupils, we work on the ethical challenges that predictive AI poses to the basic democratic order and formulate alternative, more desirable technical future scenarios. This work is accompanied by our "Data Ethics Outreach Lab" study project. Cognitive Science Master's students gain practical knowledge in the conception, implementation and scientific evaluation of workshops. The workshop concepts developed are then prepared as **Open Educational Resources**, freely accessible teaching materials that teachers can use for school lessons.

"Another Tech is Possible: Alternative AI Futures Thinking" workshops at the Kunsthalle Osnabrück

In these workshops at the Kunsthalle Osnabrück, we invite the general public to join us in taking a closer look at current ideas about the future. Both critically and visionarily, we want to question deeply rooted ideas about the future and consider together what alternative, sustainable and socially just tech futures could look like.

- Saturday, 24.08.2024, 11:00-17:00
- Saturday, 11.01.2025, 11:00-17:00
- The dates can be visited independently of each other.
- Further information will be published soon.

Data Ethics Outreach Lab

The Data Ethics Outreach Lab is a study project and interdisciplinary course for CogSci M.Sc and Lehramt students.

For further information, please visit the the project page at

Find out more about our DEOL course!

Why does the data collected by Instagram or YouTube lead to social inequality? How do Snapchat, TikTok and Co. (re)structure social relationships and restrict the identity performances available to young people online? What does PayPal do with all the data they collect from payment transactions? Why do chat bots perpetuate stereotypical gender norms? And how does riding a bus without a ticket relate to being denied a loan?

These questions represent only a handful of possible vantage points from which to explore and critically reflect on key issues in the field of digital consumer culture. Many of these issues relate to big data and AI services we use every day. In most cases, users are not aware that these services have harmful effects on our societies, democracies and well-being.

Within this study project we will discuss the risks and societal implications of networked digital services to develop strategies and formats for public awareness raising. Participants will form small teams to choose their own topics – along the technologies and issues they perceive most pressing. There is also a wide range of possible outreach formats that teams can choose from: Developing and testing Open Educational Resources for school lessons with high school students; organising workshop (Lehrer:innen-Fortbildung) for school teachers in autumn; recording explainer videos to circulate on the web; creating public websites, social media channels and other public interventions.

The project is funded by the "zukunft.niedersachsen" program of the Ministry of Science and Culture, Lower Saxony.

SIMPORT ‒ a completed project on ethics of location-data funded by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Rainer Mühlhoff was head of the philosophy sub-project “Ethics of Interaction Design” within the interdisciplinary project SIMPORT ‒ Souveränes und Intuitives Management personenbezogener Ortsinformationen (sovereign and intuitive management of personal location information). The project collected research in data ethics and in issues of data protection and personal autonomy in the context of mobile GPS data collection.

For further information, please visit the project website at

© Simone Reukauf

Our goal was an empowering human-machine interaction when accessing GPS data on mobile devices. Our learning tool aimed at raising awareness of users for inferential analyses that can be created based on such data.

Together with our partners from the field of computer science and the industries, our sub-project developped an ethics-by-design approach for participatory models of implementing responsible technological design.

The project was funded by the German federal ministry of education and reseach as part of its funding line human-machine interaction for digital sovereignty.

SIMPORT was a collaboration between the Institute of Geoinformatics (ifgi) at the University of Münster, the Institute for Societal Aspects of the Digital (GUD) at the FH Münster, the University of Osnabrück, Reedu GmbH & Co. KG, and HERE. SIMPORT was part of the Digital Autonomy Hub.