AI Reader

In the middle of the hype around AI it is useful to take stock of the reflection and evolution of AI. In my own analyses and writings on AI it evident that a narrowing of focus has taken place. Whereas before 2022 the writing dealt more with digital technologies in general. The links to the literature on the social construction of technologies was obvious. Algorithms and AI was a part of the broader topic of society and technology.
This has changed. The public debate is focused on “everything AI now”. We look at technological developments largely through the lens of AI now. Hence, my focus of assessments of technology from a societal perspective follows this trend. In a collection of blog entries on AI we try to demonstrate the far reaching changes that have started to have an impact on us. In the last few months the all encompassing concern about AI’s effect on us needs full attention of social scientists, policy makers, companies and the public at large. We can no longer leave this topic to the software engineers alone. By the way, they themselves ask us to get involved and take the latest advances in AI more seriously.
As a “flipbook” the online reading is rather comfortable (Link to flipbook publisher MPL). The pdf or epub files of the blog entries allow to directly follow the links to sources in webpages or other publications (AI and Society 2p 2024-4-18). The cycles of analyses and comments have become faster. Traditional book writing suffers from time lags that risk to make pubications outdated rather quickly. Dynamic ebook writing might bridge the gap between time to reflect and speed to publish or inform the wider public.

Digital organising

Since the digital innovations continue to broaden our scope of how to organise, we have to make conscious choices which way to choose. The traditional form of sending out newsletters and waiting for responses is still a feature that is prevalent across Europe. Most organisations have shifted to digital plus physical versions by now, just like newspapers. Young organisations by founding year have started or shifted to digital only for speed of delivery, CO2 and cost saving mainly. We may derive a first dimension of organising between the digital and physical.
A second dimension consists in the central versus decentral forms of organising. Similar to the franchise principle of organising companies, organisations have a choice to keep a central structure with varying degrees of freedom at the regional, sectoral or local level. Organisation theory is helpful in this respect. Various hybrid forms are equally possible. Centralised in financial aspects, but scope for local decisions on content.
Bohn et al. (2023) define digital organising as “collective purposeful alignment and distributed action fostered through digital technologies”. Centralisation and/or Decentralization become a matter of conscious choice. The processes of datafication and connectification, whereby every bit of information becomes a data point and any electronically enabled device can be connected with each other. Organisations now have a choice of how to organize including digital organising. The opportunities are within the space opened up by the 2 dimensions (figure below). A specific subject matter may require more physical presence and maybe centralised structure, but digital only forms with highly decentralised forms are powerful tools in the 21st century. New as well as established social movements may well take advantage of these digital technologies as well. (Image: Digital Organising 2024 Protest Berlin).

AI and Behavior

We start to analyze the impact of AI on our behavior. It is an important question to be aware of not only how we interact with AI (Link), but also what effect the use of AI (disclosed or not) will have on our social behavior. Knowing that AI is used might change our willingness to cooperate or increase or decrease pro-social behavior. The use of AI in form of an algorithm to select job candidates might introduce a specific bias, but it can equally be constructed to favour certain criteria in the selection of candidates. The choice of criteria becomes more important in this process and the process of choosing those criteria.
Next comes the question whether the announcement includes as information that AI will be used in the selection process. This can be interpreted by some that a “more objective” procedure might be applied, whereas other persons interpret this signal as bad sign of an anonymous process and lack of compassion prevalent in the organization focused mostly on efficiency of procedures.  Fabian Dvorak, Regina Stumpf et al. (2024) demonstrate with experimental evidence from various forms of games (prisoner’s dilemma, binary trust game, ultimatum game) that a a whole range of outcomes is negatively affected (trust, cooperation, coordination and fairness). This has serious consequences for society. The social fabric might worsen if AI is widely applied. Even or particularly the undisclosed use of AI already shows up as a lack of trust in the majority of persons in these experiments.
In sum, we are likely to change our behavior if we suspect AI is involved the selection process or content creation. This should be a serious warning to all sorts of content producing media, science, public and private organizations. It feels a bit like with  microplastic or PFAS. At the beginning we did not take it seriously and then before long AI is likely to be everywhere without us knowing or aware of the use. (Image taken on Frankfurt book fair 2017-10!)


Sleep is a process. That is why it is best to talk of sleeping rather than sleep. There exists abundant research on sleep and more and more acknowledge the process-like characteristics of sleep. The medical literature deals a lot with sleep apnoea, which constitutes a serious health condition. Time use surveys establish links between daily activities and sleeping for example. The social context is another influence on sleeping. Friends and family co-determine sleeping patterns as well. The latest better understood impact on sleeping depends on the use of technological devices before and during sleeping. Smart phones reveal themselves as not so smart if it comes to the quality of your sleep. At least this the result of the study on „bedtime technology use on sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness“. It yet another field in which technology is slowly creeping under our skin and we have to learn how to handle negative side effects before they endanger our physical as well as mental health. Bedtime routines or reading without a screen before falling asleep appears to be a worthwhile way to improve sleeping. Worth trying out again and again.

Styles are a Changing

We all have our very own style. Even if you believe you have no style, then this will be your style. Of course, styles are changing continuously and fast fashion tries to make us believe we even ought to change as frequently as possible. Just find your style no matter of age and gender. Yes we can. Young designers test new materials and cuts to make new impressions. As science is progressing with new fibers that imitate the apparently light fur of polar bears, new designs will become feasible and enrich the list of potential fibers in clothing. In addition to seamless 3D knitting the new fiber allows to replace down with light fiber. Going out into the cold will be fun again. Want more of this, visit Fashion in Action! (Image from empty space designers webpage 2023-12-24 Berk and Julien).


Some cartoonists or scientists have a special capacity to sense and to explain upcoming trends. Put in a humoristic form the audience you are likely to reach will by far exceed the numbers you might reach otherwise. Loriot had a gift in this respect which is much acclaimed in Germany. Taking issue with the obsession of driving a car and all sorts of topics related he foresaw the trend to massive expansion of road traffic and what this trend, if extrapolated, will do to us. Mankind will change, men will no longer be kind. We return to animal-like behaviour and become slaves of the new technologies we create. Bad weather at least makes us rethink our mobility patterns.


Particularly around holiday seasons across the whole year we observe the “emergencification” in modern societies. This not so new trend consists in the strategy to artificially create emergency situations in which it is considered reasonable to ask for higher prices. It appears to be just another kind of a “greedflation”, whereby extra profits can be reaped due to shortages of food or particular forms of energy. Medical services have also pushed for an emergencification of their services due to ever longer waiting queues for appointments and treatments. The strategy here is easily disclosed. (1) You decline any appointment earlier for inspection of cars, heating systems, office equipment or medical check-ups and sooner or later a “planned” emergency will arise, which allows you to charge higher prices than the routine in time appointment or treatment. This makes prevention of more costly interventions far more difficult. In sum, the costs to society as a whole rise by the simple way of emergencification.
Even using a repair platform, we did not receive a single offer for a more lengthy and costly repair of my 10+ year old car. Hence, we just wait for a breakdown with more serious and costly consequences. Unfortunately, the same holds true for many medical services. If you no longer manage to assure a timely consultation you are more likely to go directly to the emergency services of a hospital. This is then the costly, but only alternative left to you. In the artificially created emergency you have little room for negotiation and a choice of different offers and conditions. It is a shift in negotiation powers to the service provider. The emergencification creates a price inflation of a specific kind. Worryingly, this kind of inflation is well beyond the normal statistical measurement of inflation national statistical offices observe. In addition to the much debated “greedflation” we should deal with the emergencification as an additional price mechanism. Just ask about examples among your friends or in the neighourhood whether they have lived through an example of emergencification. The stories are abundant and full of surprises. The example I heard: “birth and death, both come as a surprise or emergency, and yet we have the whole life to prepare the latter one”. Part of image taken from “Loriot “on the pleasures of driving (2022. Subtitle:” I suppose the screen wipers caused the trouble”.


Ein Nachhaltigkeitskonzept gehört zum Bauen mittlerweile wie das Gelbe zum Ei. Die Einreichungen zum Realisierungswettbewerb eines Portals für das Deutsche Technik Museum Berlin hatten entsprechende Anforderungen zu erfüllen. Für ein Technik Museum können dazu die Anforderungen schon etwas höher sein und die oft geforderte „Technologieoffenheit“ oder die Diskussion darüber zumindest andeuten. Der Anerkennungspreis ging an ein Konsortium für die Einreichung 1110, die eine klare Übersicht ihres Nachhaltigkeitskonzepts vorstellten (siehe Auszug Image unten, Foto aus der Ausstellung 2023-12). Nachwachsende Baustoffe gehören zum Repertoire. Gleichzeitig sollte die Erhaltung oder gar Förderung der Biodiversität Teil der nachhaltigen Konzeption sein. Innerstädtisch ist die Rückumwandlung der Versiegelung der Böden eine wichtige gesundheitsfördernde Bauweise. Kühlung in den aufgeheizten Städten ist durch Grünflächen und Beschattung zu erreichen. Tolle Architekten sind das, die den Mut aufbringen den Stachel in die Wunde zu legen. Die Anwohnenden und Besuchenden würden es den Verantwortlichen jahrzehntelang danken.
Das sind längst keine abgefahrenen grünen Ideen oder Träumereien mehr. Paris hat es schon längst vor gemacht. Ganz nah beim Eiffelturm ist das „Musée du Quai Branly –  Jacques Chirac“ das als Neubau mit Garten vom konservativen Präsidenten Jacques Chirac eine grüne Naturoase mitten im Herzen Paris hat bauen lassen. Es ist immer noch eine Art Geheimtipp für Pariser in den zu warmen Sommermonaten. Berlin könnte wie mit der vom Pyramiden-Architekten Pei geplanten Eingangshalle vom Deutschen Historischen Museum mal wieder mit einem Nachhaltigkeitskonzept mit Paris gleichziehen. Gemeinsam können wir auch nachhaltig. Mit der vom Menschen und seiner Technik verursachten Erderwärmung haben die nachfolgenden Generationen noch lange genug zu kämpfen. Mehr Nachhaltigkeitskonzepte braucht die Technik. Das ist die wirkliche Herausforderung des 21. Jahrhunderts.

Technik Museum

Wir müssen die preisgekrönten Bauprojekte von Berlin nicht alle mögen. Die „schwangere Auster“ (Haus der Kulturen der Welt) war anfangs auch nicht beliebt, aber trotz Einsturz, haben wir sie lieben gelernt. Neben die Neue Nationalgalerie geplant von Mies van der Rohe und der Berliner Philharmonie von Hans Scharoun reiht sich bald die sogenannte „Scheune“. Ja ,eine multifunktionelle Verbindung der Museen ist im Bau. Nicht viel weiter werden wir vielleicht schon bald wieder eine kleine Erinnerung an die Berliner Mauer bestaunen können. Unweit vom Kulturforum stehen einige unverbundene Solitäre, die zusammen das Deutsche Technik Museum formen. Das ist bisher nur wenigen Touristen im Vorbeifahren auf der Ost-West-Achse in Berlin aufgefallen. Daher braucht es jetzt eine „instagram-able“, gemeinsame und verbindende Häuserfront, vielleicht so etwas wie die Pyramide (Pei-Bau) mitten im Louvre.
Die Einreichungen zum ausgeschriebene Realisierungswettbewerb (Link zu pdf-file) mit ziemlich konkreten (technischen) Vorgaben können noch in 2023-12 in einer kleinen Ausstellung eingesehen werden. Das gab es auch vorher schon anlässlich des Wettbewerbs für die Scheune. Wir hatten also keine großen Erwartungen, aber es hätte doch dieses Mal anders kommen können.
Der Blick auf die Pläne, Modelle und beschreibenden Texte hätte durchaus mit etwas Mut der Jury anders ausfallen können. So werden wir wohl mit dem 1. Preis des Realisierungsvorschlags leben lernen müssen. Mit etwas Abstand als virtueller Besucher im Modell kam mir direkt die Assoziation ich stehe vor einer Mauer. Diese ist aber im 21. Jahrhundert aus Holz und mit Solarzellen bestückt. Die „Deutschen Baumeister & Architekten“ erlauben auf ihrem Blog eine Vogelperspektive auf den prämierten Vorschlag. Die Pressemeldung der erläutert umfänglicher die Ausschreibung und die Begründung der Jury (Link).
Neben den 3 Preisen wurde noch 2 Anerkennungen mit Preisgeld ausgesprochen. Die Nr. 1110 imaginierte eine naturbetonte Umsetzung, die die Technik visuell in den Hintergrund verschiebt. Sie setzt einen wichtigen Kontrapunkt zur Technikverliebtheit in den Nachbargebäuden. Worum geht es bei der Technik? Richtig, letztlich um den Menschen und seine Lebenswelten. „Bionik“ beispielsweise ist Technik, die die Natur zu Rate gezogen hat. Das ist in der Forschung und Entwicklung von Technik ein riesengroßes Thema. Aber wir können dafür doch wieder ein eigenes Museum bauen. Bisweilen können wir und alte Computer und Telefone im Technik Museum ansehen. Klar Autos gibt es auch. Die Spannung Natur und Technik wird uns sicherlich noch einige Generationen lang beschäftigen.
(Image: Auszug aus Unterlage und Würdigung des Anerkennungspreises BIM, 2023)

Twitter Retreat

There are many migrating species in nature. Birds form a large part of the them. This follows a kind of annual or seasonal pattern. Depending on the migration experience and dangers some, sometimes many don’t come back. This seems to describe the migration experience of the tweeting bird called twitter. Changing the name from Twitter to X, whereby X for maths-oriented people stands for a variable name that can be filled with any value. For the cinema industry X stands for x-rated adult only content and has rather obnoxious content. This might hold for web content as well.
Online through “ the disastrous consequences of harsh human resource policies and lack of political sensitivity can be followed. Multiplying biased opinions of right-wing extremists, the platform has been highjacked and many tweeting birds leave or have left already.
Leaving is not easy though. People and enterprises have invested substantial amounts of money into tweeting and software developers have created specialised features to make it easy to spread press releases or info via these add-on services. I myself benefitted from services to show my tweets on my webpage or to easily publish info or links to the webpage. As of now, with migrating away most of these investments will be lost. It was smooth and easy, but now we start this all over again with other comparable platforms and assistance from developers. Mastodon and Bluesky are on the rise as alternative platforms and most likely we shall use both for some time just like Netzpolitik and many others. If already 1/3 of users intend to leave Twitter/X the impact of big advertisers leaving the platform has even more impact. After all they pay for reaching potentially millions of platform users, but now they reach only a steeply biased subset of previous users. Deleting the Twitter/X app saves you from other potential unwanted monitoring or tracking. Only the addresses on Mastodon for example are a bit longer like Decentral monitoring of illicit undesirable content has advantages and disadvantages. We shall have to monitor this a bit ourselves and contribute more actively to save such platforms from bad weather or seasonal migration.


Over a generation the association with the word mail or AI has changed. Younger generations will automatically think of email as the obvious association with “you have got mail”. Asking people for their mail address, most people will respond immediately with their email account. That has certainly changed over the last 20 years. Email has become extraordinarily important for contacts, content and “crime”. The original set-up of mail servers were supposed to exchange data and information between trusted and trusting individuals. Nowadays we have become “anyone” on an email-list or part of a cascading email-chain. Pishing emails that try to lure us to potentially fake webpages to enter personal information is widespread. A whole new industry of cybersecurity has evolved in parallel with ever faster pingpong of new threats and costly remedies. Most critical remains the human factor to protect email and vital information from abuse. All training to better manage email should therefore begin with awareness building on the need to take cybersecurity seriously right from the beginning. It is not an issue to deal with towards the end of learning about it. Some general points have become common practice. Think carefully if you need to open the mail. Check whether there are external links in it. Do you really need this extra information? Be careful about the number of persons you forward or put in the copy field of your mail.

Unfortunately the simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) makes it technically fairly easy to abuse email addresses and send an email from a domain name which you do not own. Same holds true for the content of emails. Originally only basic letters and numbers were allowed, no Umlaut etc. But then the “multipurpose internet mail extensions” (MIME) enabled more formats of attachments and illicit links and files within the email content.

In consequence it became necessary to scan emails en masse for malware and obnoxious content. Hence the quality of your email programs reveals itself with the amount of spam you still receive. Next come the email filters that sort your inbox for spam and other modern plagues like unwanted newsletters or notifications.

In consequence we sometimes wonder that we never received certain emails albeit the person sending it reiterated that the email was sent. Even checking your spam folder in the email program might not solve the issue because your receiving email server has been instructed not to accept emails from previously unknown mail servers. Not much you can do about this as an individual person, you mail server is just not on the so-called white list from which to accept incoming emails.

With a mail address from the big national or international companies you have little to worry about in this respect. Smaller companies or organizations might suddenly face a thorny issue if their i@xy.z address appears on a dubious list. You will end up sending but nobody receives your emails. It might take you quite some time to find out about it and even more to fix the issue. Hence the take home message is, have more than one email address registered on different mail servers to check that sending out and receiving emails works properly for you. Managing an own webpage with email service for members or employees is a nice service, but beware of the implications for cyber security as well.

Once upon a time we drafted letters to 1-2 friends 🫠


Der letzte europäische Monat der Cybersicherheit hat wohl kaum zu einer nennenswerten Verbesserung der Situation der Cybersicherheit geführt. Beispielsweise der Tankstellenzulieferer mit Öl, die Oiltanking aus HH, hat einen Cyberangriff nicht abwehren können. So wird die wahrscheinliche RansomWareAttacke wohl erst nach Zahlung in Cryptowährung wieder zu vollen Funktionalität zurückkehren können. Scheinbar können zwischenzeitlich die Preise nicht geändert werden und es sind keine Kartenzahlungen möglich. Zusätzlich waren belgische Häfen betroffen. Der internationale “safer internet day” zeigt ebenfalls wenig Wirkung. Wer wichtige Passwörter heute geändert? Eben.
Eurostat hat passgenau zumTag die Statistik zur Verwendung der Internetbrowser und deren Sicherheitseinstellungen veröffentlicht. (s.u.). Auch die sehr offene Volkswirtschaft Deutschland hat da noch einiges zu tun, besonders bei der Verwendung von spezifischer Software. Die wissenschaftliche online Zeitschrift “Frontiers in Psychology” hat eine kleine Studie mit 333 Studierenden veröffentlicht bei der das Konzept “Techno-Stress” angesprochen wird. Also die großen Konzerne der Internetgiganten (GAFAM) verursachen bei fehlendem Datenschutz (DSGVO) bei Nutzenden erheblichen “Techno-Stress”. Zoom-meetings und Ransomwareattacken etc. haben sicherlich das Stresslevel nochmals erhöht, gerade für diejenigen, die selten TechnoMusik hören.
Passwortmanager erlauben es, komplizierte Passwörter zu vergeben und zu verwenden. Machen müssen wir das selbst, die Geschäftsmodelle der Internetgiganten basieren auf unserer Trägheit und Unwissenheit. Damit lässt sich richtig viel Geld verdienen.