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Digital Society Initiative


News list

  • Season Greetings

    The Digital Society Initiative wishes you a well-deserved rest and a Happy New Year. Thank you very much for your participation and support in 2020!

  • A Code for an Ethical Data Economy

    The Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services is launching a “Code of Ethics for Data-based Value Creation”. The code is intended to help companies and institutions to promote the confidence of consumers and politicians in the value-added use of data. The Digital Society Initiative is involved in the Code of Ethics.

  • DIZH Picking up Steam

    In the next 10 years, the joint digitalization initiative by Zurich’s higher education institutions aims to explore the effects and opportunities of digitalization and develop innovative technologies. The initiative is now gradually taking shape, and the first round of calls for research and innovation projects has been launched.

  • PhD Position at the Institute of Educational Evaluation at UZH

    The Institute for Educational Evaluation at the University of Zurich is accepting applications for a Doctoral Student in statistical and/or computational methods for modeling intensive longitudinal educational and/or developmental data. The position primarily involves work in the research project “Modeling Developmental Trajectories with Intensive Longitudinal Data from Large-Scale Formative Assessments” funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (PI: Prof. Dr. Martin Tomasik).

  • New Article on Robot Leadership

    An interesting contribution on robot leadership by DSI fellow Jamie Gloor has been published in the report Sonderband Zukunft der Arbeit.

    Here you can read the "The Funny Thing about Robot Leadership...".

    Here you can find the Sonderband Zukunft der Arbeit.

  • Preprint: Can a robot lie?

    DSI member Markus Kneer published a new preprint on the topic “Can a robot lie?”. The potential capacity for robots to deceive has received considerable attention recently. In his short experimental paper, Markus Kneer focuses on robot lying (lying being the textbook example of deception) for nonbeneficial purposes as judged from the human point of view.

  • New Text Crunching Center (TCC)

    The new Text Crunching Center (TCC) at the University of Zurich is a service offered to all departments and to external partners or customers. Head of the TCC Gerold Schneider and collaborator Tilia Ellendorff are both part of the DSI Network.

  • New project: Stop Hate Speech

    ‘Stop Hate Speech’ combines natural language processing and machine learning with civil society engagement to counter online hate speech. The project is led by alliance F (Federation of Swiss Women’s Associations) and implemented in close collaboration with the research institute sotomo, the IT-company ama-sys, the Digital Democracy Lab (UZH) and the Public Policy Group and Immigration Policy Lab (ETH). Starting in November 2020, 'Stop Hate Speech' will be supported by Innouisse.

  • DIZH Postdoc Call

    Zurich is ready to meet the challenges of a digital future!  In the context of the “Digitalisierungsinitiative der Zürcher Hochschulen” (DIZH) «research» cluster, the University of Zurich has created a number of postdoc positions.

  • Coronavirus: Skeleton Staff at DSI

    Due to the increasing number of corona infections, the DSI managing office will work in home office as of Monday (26.10.20) until further notice.

    We are available for questions by mail (


  • Two Free Professorships at the Medical Faculty of the University of Zurich

    A professorship for "Digital Health Interventions" and a professorship for "Medical Knowledge and Decision Support" at the Medical Faculty of the University of Zurich are to be filled for the first time.

  • New Project: "Triage Dilemmas: A Window into (Ecologically Valid) Moral Cognition"

    Dr. Markus Kneer and Ivar R. Hannikainen published a new paper entitled "Triage Dilemmas: A Window into (Ecologically Valid) Moral Cognition". The studies examined the moral attitude of people towards triage of patients with acute coronavirus.

  • Doris Leuthard and Thomas Dübendorfer new on the DSI Advisory Board!

    We are delighted that the two new members of the Advisory Board will soon be able to contribute their considerable expertise in the field of digitalization to the Digital Society Initiative. A warm welcome!

  • New DSI Professorships

    Welcome to the two new DSI professors: Dan Olteanu and Marie-Luis Merten

  • New Project: «Covid-Norms: Monitoring and Analyzing Preventive Behaviour»

    As part of the National Research Programme «Covid-19» (NRP 78), the DSI members Thomas Friemel, Sarah Geber, Mark Eisenegger, and Daniel Vogler have received a grant for their project «Covid-Norms». The project will be realized in cooperation between the IKMZ and the fög. Over a period of two years (September 2020 - August 2022), social norms on various Covid-19 preventive behaviors, especially the use of the SwissCovid app and the wearing of a face mask, will be investigated.

  • Challenge Area Communication: New Subpage

    The Challenge Area Communication has renewed its subpage for projects on! The new subpage offers an even better overview and shows the wide range of communication projects at the UZH.

    Many thanks to the team! For everyone else: Just take a look and click through!

  • ELSI Best Paper Award for interdisciplinary research project

    Excellent interdisciplinary collaboration - a poster on AI ethics submitted by former DSI Fellow Lonneke van der Plas and DSI employee Michele Loi was accepted at the Swiss Conference on Data Science (SDS2020). The poster "A blind spot of AI ethics: anti-fragility in statistical prediction" was also awarded the ELSI Best Paper Award.

  • Podcast: COVID-19 and the Digital Society

    DSI Director Abraham Bernstein gave a lecture on "COVID-19 and the Digital Society" as part of the podcast lecture series of the Commission UZH Interdisciplinary (UZH-i). In the lecture series "Covid-19: University Responsibility in Times of Global Dislocation", researchers from all seven faculties of the University of Zurich show whether and with which questions they approach global upheavals such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • A research agenda for Digital Proximity Tracing Apps

    A team of scientists, including UZH researchers and DSI members Viktor von Wyl and Milo Puhan, looked into the question of how a digital proximity tracing app should work and proposed a research agenda for evaluation.

  • Brown Bag Lunch "Research in times of Corona – challenges and creative solutions"

    The Covid-19 pandemic had a major impact on empirical research at UZH. During the lockdown and because of the restrictions taken by the government, many researchers had to rethink their research design, or the research process needed to be paused/stopped. Especially affected has been research involving fieldwork and physical contact with (vulnerable) study participants.

    The DSI Brown Bag Lunch on 8 July dealt with this topic.

  • Workshop Sharing Big Data in Health

    The ELSI-Task-Force for the National Research Programme “Big Data” organizes the workshop on Sharing Big Data in Health, which will take place on August 28 at the University of Zurich. The workshop deals with the ethical and legal aspects of managing big data in health-related applications.

  • Call for Applications: Ph.D. Fellowships in Digital Visual Studies

    The Max Planck Society and the University of Zurich invite applications for interdisciplinary predoctoral fellowships in the field of Digital Visual Studies for a duration of 2+1 years.

  • DSI Challenge Area Mobility with new website

    The Challenge Area Mobility has now launched its own website. On the recently launched website of the DSI Challenge Area Mobility you can learn about the group, get to know its members, or browse through interesting projects in which questions related to the increasing digitalization of mobility are studied. 

    Challenge Area Mobility

  • Publication: Which features are important when using a coronavirus app?

    The coronavirus pandemic is also a driver for new ideas and technologies. In response to the crisis, many apps on the topic of coronavirus are being developed and published. However, this variety of apps can be confusing for potential users. How can apps contribute to fighting the pandemic? And which apps are trustworthy?

  • Guest commentary in NZZ

    Various members of the DSI board of directors and network have given their views on the topics tracking app and the use of data in times of Covid-19 in the guest commentary over the last weeks. All articles are available only in German.

  • Flu-Like Illness Surveillance with FLISbook – A Facebook-like platform for monitoring flu-like symptoms

    The Digital and Mobile Health Group of the Institute of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention has developed FLISbook, a Facebook-like platform for monitoring flu-like symptoms, based on a broadly existing platform for digital health studies.

    FLISbook was made available in April 2020. The release with all planned features is scheduled for June 2020.

  • Guest commentary in NZZ: Tracking of data

    Eszter Hargittai and Florent Thouvenin, professors at the University of Zurich, have written a guest commentary in the NZZ on the use of tracking apps to combat Covid-19.

  • New study on artificial intelligence from TA-Swiss

    Now finally published  – the new study by TA-Swiss " When algorithms decide for us: Opportunities and risks of artificial intelligence" deals with the opportunities and risks of AI in the application areas of work, education and research, consumption, media and administration.

  • Welcome: New DSI Professors from April 2020!

    We are pleased to welcome the two new DSI Professors Karsten Donnay and Viktor von Wyl since April 2020.

  • New Study: Risk «Algorithm» – The significance of algorithmic selection for everyday life

    The study, supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, shows for the population of Switzerland how poorly and unequally distributed risk awareness and skills in handling algorithmic selection applications are. Results indicate both the recklessness of passing on self-generated health data to third parties and the strong desire to control algorithmic selection services such as Google search and Facebook more closely.

  • Interdisciplinary Project: Digital visual information therapy (DigiVisIn) for orofacial pain

    How does interdisciplinary research work? One example of how to successfully work on a project at three faculties is DigiVisIn.

  • AlgorithmWatch Article: "We must save privacy from privacy itself"

    DSI member and post-doctoral researcher Michele Loi has published an article on Privacy, AI and COVID-19 with the title: “we must save privacy form privacy itself”. He argues that proponents of privacy should not put privacy above health – else risk sliding into irrelevance.

  • Project Manager in Digital Management (80-100%)

    The city of Aarau is looking for a project manager in Digital Management (80-100%) for the section Organisation and Strategy.

  • New Podcast-Episode of the ITSL and DSI

    The Breakfast of Ideas podcast is a podcast series of the Center for Information Technology, Society, and Law (ITSL) and the Digital Society Initiative at the University of Zurich.

  • UZH Magazin: Artificial Intelligence - smarter than us?

    The current UZH magazine (available in German) is dedicated entirely to the topic of "Artificial Intelligence": How does AI influence our lives, what do we need it for and what can it do at all?

    UZH researchers, who deal with the topic of artificial intelligence from very different perspectives, have their say on this topic in the dossier. Absolutely worth reading! 

    UZH Magazin 01/20

  • Coronavirus: Skeleton Staff at DSI

    Switzerland, and therefore also the UZH, is in an extraordinary situation. In order to protect UZH staff, operations with a minimal presence were introduced from 17 March 2020 until further notice.

  • Publication of the "Automated Human Resources Management and Labor Rights" AlgorithmWatch Project

    On Monday March 2. 2020 the results of the AlgorithmWatch project "Automated Human Resources Management and Labor Rights" were published. DSI Managing Director Dr. Markus Christen and DSI employee Michele Loi participated in the project.

  • PolitTalk Digitales Zürich at the DSI

    Do we need an emergency set for digital crises? (Brauchen wir ein Notfallset für digitale Krisen?) This was the topic of the last PolitTalk Digitales Zürich in January. The experts Melanie Koller, Daniel Nussbaumer, Ivano Somaini and Arno Stark discussed the Internet, which has become practically essential for the survival of Zurich's citizens, the companies based here and the public service in the canton. 

    Please find here more information on the event (available only in German).

  • Kantonsrat approves funds for DIZH

    At yesterday's meeting, the Zurich Kantonsrat (cantonal council) approved the digitalization initiative of the Zurich universities. With a sum of 300 million francs, the four Zurich universities will be able to start their digitalization offensive in the new year.

  • UZH and DSI projects selected for NRP 77

    In early December 2019, the Research Council approved 37 projects for NRP 77 "Digital Transformation". We are pleased that representatives of the University of Zurich and members of the Digital Society Initiative are involved in many of the 37 projects. Congratulations!


    Click here for the NRP 77 website and the funded projects of NRP 77.