Skip to main content

Tag: Ethics

AI’ll be back – Consequences of AI Regulation for Start-Ups

The use of artificial intelligence in the EU will be regulated by the AI Act, the world’s first comprehen-sive AI law. Its purpose is to legally define artificial intelligence and impose documentation, auditing, and process requirements for AI providers. What does that mean for AI startups in Switzerland? Three speakers will discuss consequences, opportunities and risks of the AI Act. Livia Walpen, Senior Policy Advisor International Relations at BAKOM, outlines the current state of the EU AI act and its possible consequences for Switzerland. Christoph Heitz, Founder and President of the Data Innovation Alliance, discusses how developers of AI applications in companies need to prepare already today, how the AI Act changes the job of developers, and how startups can obtain support for these new challenges. Christoph Bräunlich, Head AI of BSI Software, presents a use case to demonstrate how a “Code of AI conduct” can help to be prepared for compliance for AI regulations. Speakers and audience will deepen questions in a discussion moderated by Markus Christen, managing director of the Digital Society Initiative of the University of Zurich.


16:30 – 16:45     Arrival of speakers
17:00 – 17:05     Markus Christen: Welcome and outline of event
17:05 – 17:25     Livia Walpen: EU AI Act: State of play
17:25 – 17:45     Christoph Heitz: Is it possible to be prepared for the coming AI regulation as a company?
17:45 – 18:05     Christoph Bräunlich: Digital Responsibility as AI provider: Can a “Code of AI conduct” help?
18:05 – 18:30     All: discussion among speakers and with the audience (Moderator: Markus Christen); focus on consequences of AI regulation for startups (opportunities & ethics)
18:30 – 19:00     Apèro

Expert Group Meeting – Data Ethics

For the last time in 2022, the Data Ethics Expert Group will meet in Zurich to discuss the upcoming year.

Together we will discuss the specifics of projects to look into, especially within the regulation of artificial intelligence and possible activities for the Expert Group. Afterwards, there will be a social gathering.


16:30 Welcome & short round of introduction
16:45 Short summary of achievements 2022 (by Markus)
17:00 Discussion: Topic of 2023: Responsible AI (also a focus theme of the “databooster”)– introduced by Christoph

Later, the “coalition of the willing” can go for some “Glühwein” at the HB Christmas market.

Ethik und Datenwirtschaft – Wie passt das zusammen?

Viele fordern heute von Unternehmen einen ethischen Umgang mit Daten und Algorithmen. Doch was genau bringt Ethik für eine nachhaltige Datenwirtschaft? Wie bringt man Daten-Ethik konkret in die Kultur und Prozesse einer Firma ein?

economiesuisse lädt zusammen mit der Digital Society Initiative (DSI) der Universität Zürich und der data innovation alliance (d+i) ein, diesen Fragen vertiefend nachzugehen. Prominente Vertreterinnen und Vertreter aus Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft erörtern gemeinsam mit den Teilnehmenden anhand konkreter Fallbeispiele aus den Bereichen Human Resources, Marketing und Produktpersonalisierung die Rolle der Ethik für eine nachhaltige Datenwirtschaft.

Für ausführliche Informationen sehen Sie bitte den Flyer!

Expert Group Meeting – Data Ethics

What are the benefits of the “Digital Trust Label”?

Beginning of this year, the Swiss Digital Initiative (SDI) launched the “Digital Trust Label”; the first of
its kind worldwide. The label is intended to promote the trustworthiness of digital applications. Doris
Leuthard, former Federal Councillor and SDI President, compares the Digital Trust Label with the
trust seal of an organic label or a nutritional value table. According to Leuthard, the SDI has big goals
for the label: it should become the new Swiss export hit.

But can the Digital Trust Label deliver what it promises? The Data Innovation Alliance (DIA), together
with the Ethics Community of the Digital Society Initiative (DSI), invites you to take an in-depth look
at this question. Niniane Paeffgen from the SDI will present the label; Sophia Ding (Managing
Consultant AWK Group) and André Golliez (Swiss Data Alliance) will discuss the label with the
audience under the moderation of Markus Christen (DSI).

Thursday , 16 June 2022, 16:00 to 18:00 (incl. apéro). Location: DSI, Rämistrasse 69, 8001 Zurich.
Please send a short message to if you plan to attend the event.

Towards fair algorithms

By Markus Christen, Karin Lange, Christoph Heitz, Michele Loi

Meeting of Expert Group Data Ethics, March 7 2022

The Data Ethics Expert Group is advancing its expertise in algorithm and data ethics: Two trendy topics were discussed in the Expert Group meeting from March 7: fair algorithms and the demand for consulting in ethical and societal issues of data business. Furthermore, an Ethos study on digital responsibility of enterprises has been presented to the community and two events for 2022 were prepared at the meeting. 16 persons participated in the online meeting.

Algorithms are increasingly used to support or even automatize decisions with relevant impact on the life of humans: obtaining credits, insurance premiums or even access to certain resources is increasingly shaped by tools that use machine learning. This raises the issue of “fairness” of the decisions; in particular to avoid discrimination of certain people. Members of the Expert Group are involved in two ongoing research projects on that matter. One project – “Socially acceptable AI and fairness trade-offs in predictive analytics” – is part of the National Research Programme 77 on Digital Transformation, the other project – Algorithmic Fairness in data-based decision making: Combining ethics and technology – is funded by Innosuisse. Christoph Heitz from ZHAW has presented an overview on the ongoing research.

Both projects share the same intention, the development of an integrated methodology to create socially fair algorithms. In doing so, both philosophical questions (e.g., what is “fair” in a given context”) as well as computer science problems (e.g., how to implement fairness technically in an algorithm) have to be resolved. One intermediate result of the project so far is the “fairness lab” – a toolbox where data scientists can experience the consequences of implementing different fairness definitions into a maching learning algorithm.

Interested people can gain more insight on this topic in a special workshop that accompanies the upcoming Swiss Conference on Data Science on June 22. During the workshop “How to Develop Fair Algorithms?” participants with a background in data science …

… learn how to combine data-based prediction models with fairness requirements;

… learn how algorithmic (un)fairness is defined and measured in a practical context;

… learn how to construct fair decision algorithms while still harvesting the benefit of a good prediction model; and they

… will apply the methodology to concrete use cases and examples.

Ethics consulting for companies

In a second talk, Sophia Ding, managing consultant at the AWK Group, presented the emerging needs of businesses to better understand data ethics. Based on a survey in 2022 (online survey, N=225, source: dealing with data is the number one reason why companies face ethical issues in their projects. Around 70% of respondents reported potentially problematic projects. The majority of these projects concern the handling of data, for example questionable data evaluations. Much less common are measures that contribute to the monitoring of employees and the use of monitoring of employees, and the use of controversial technologies such as facial or voice recognition.

According to Ding, the lack of specific regulations for data driven AI systems could lead to a focus on ethical principles as guidance for self-regulation. Thus, companies with mature data science departments start gaining an interest in ethical topics regarding data driven systems. The demand is primarily driven by compliance or risk management, less by data science teams.

An expression for this increasing interest in data ethics is a study by the Ethos Foundation, presented by Jean-Henry Morin of the University of Geneva. The study “Corporate digital responsibility of SMI Expanded Index companies” from January 2022 (source: analyzed 48 companies. The results show that companies still lack transparency about their digital practices and that their degree of preparation for issues such as ethics in artificial intelligence are still in their early stages.

Upcoming events

The Expert Group will thus put a stronger focus on making current research on data ethics applicable and known for businesses. Two events are planned in that respect. One event on June 16 will focus on “Tools for Ethical Decision-Making”. At the event, the new “digital trust” label of the Swiss Digital Initiative will be presented. This label is awarded after a thorough audit process, which aims to create a certain standard: Meeting 35 mandatory criteria across four dimensions with an application. Sarah Gädig from the Swiss Digital Initiative will introduce the label and the criteria – just a few days after the Label will be presented for the first time at the WEF in Davos end of May. A second event organized in fall 2022 will focus on the role of ethics for sustainable data business. This event will be organized as a joint venture with the Digital Society Initiative of the University of Zurich and Economiesuisse. Stay tuned!

ONLINE – Expert Group Meeting – Data Ethics

The Expert Group will have their next meeting online. Please stay tuned for upates.

Introduction, Planning 2022 (10 min) – Christoph
Info on Ethos Study (10 min) – Jean-Henry, Uni Geneva
Update on research project on Algorithmic fairness (15 min) – Christoph, ZHAW
Demand for consulting in ethical and societal issues (20 min) – Sophia, AWK
Topic for June meeting (30 min) – Karin, Mobiliar
Planned Event with economiesuisse in Fall 2022, Info and discussion (15 min) – Markus, UZH

Expert Group members please refer to the calendar invitation.
If you are not a member but would like to participate, please reach out to Christoph Heitz (mail) until one week before the event (February 28) at the latest.

AI in Human Resources – dangerous to employee well-being?

HR analytics is studying all people’s processes, functions, challenges, and opportunities at work to elevate these systems and achieve sustainable business success. The active use of advanced analytics can improve the way organisations identify, attract, develop, and retain talent dramatically. On the other hand decisions supported by data and algorithms may be hiding risks for employees as well as employers that most companies do not even consider.

On November 4, 2021, this question and topics were examined from different perspectives – by renowned speakers from both the academic and business environment.

With the event generously hosted by the Digital Society Initiative at the University of Zurich, Markus Christen (UZH) and Karin Lange (die Mobiliar) opened the event – both on the leadership team of the Data Ethics Expert Group of the data innovation alliance.

Dr. Simon Schafheitle from the Institute for Work and Employment Research at the University of St. Gallen showed that people analytics are only effective if they can be enacted in a trust-enabling way. The conclusion was very clear:

“If your PA makes your employees visible:
Let them participate in the design and use and explicitly forego automation.
If your PA bears automation potential:
Allow your employees to withdraw OR explain and justify its “raison d’être” comprehensively!”

Nadia Fischer of witty works – a company that uses its product to help companies formulate job ads in such a way that the open positions can appeal to all types of talent – proved to the audience that we all have cultivated a language bias. With the help of artificial intelligence, this can be made visible and corrected.

Finally, the Mobiliar Lab for Analytics, represented by Mara Nägelin and Jasmine Kerr, used a research project on digital stress intervention to demonstrate on the one hand the great benefits for health management within companies – but also the great potential ethical dangers. In an exemplary manner, the scientists had clarified and cleared up all ethical implications in advance before the project started and repeatedly checked whether privacy and informational self- determination were guaranteed.

Three examples of how digital responsibilities can and must be assumed in order to continue to make our world worth living – and working – in in the future and not generate black boxes!

The panel discussion with the speakers continued in a lively manner during the subsequent aperitif. The audience agreed: A successful event with valuable insights on an important topic.

Public Event: Is AI dangerous to employee well-being?

Save the date! UZH Digital Forum and data innovation alliance invite to the event at the University of Zurich.


Welcome Note
Karin Lange and Markus Christen

Dear employees, drop your pants?!
The time is ripe for HR heroes amidst People Analytics

Dr. Simon Schafheitle, Institute for Work and Employment Research, HSG

Unlearning Language Bias – How words affect your existent and future employees
Nadia Fischer, Witty Works

Digital Stress Management Interventions at the Workplace: Benefits and Ethical Concerns
Mara Nägelin & Jasmin Kerr, Mobiliar Lab für Analytics, ETH

Panel Discussion and Q&A


Take a look at the FLYER for more information.
The event is limited to 80 people. Participation requires a valid Corona certificate.

ONLINE – Expert Group Meeting – Data Ethics

Data Ethics will meet in June for their second meeting. They will discuss the following points:

1) Information/Update Ethik Kodex (Swico etc.)
2) Terminfindung: Herbst-Event «AI in Human Resources» (in Zusammenarbeit mit dem NFP-77-Projekt «Fair AI»)
3) Input Camela Wey: Datenethik bei der SBB
4) Input Eleonora Vigano (White Paper on ELSI of Big Data)
5) Diskussion zum Thema «Use Cases» für Datenethik-Kodex & mögliches neues Thema der Expertengruppe
6) Varia

Please use the invitation link from the mail to participate.

  • 1
  • 2