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Algorithms in the Swiss Political Discourse

research areas

Algorithm based decision making
Artificial intelligence and governance
Political participation
State repression and surveillance


2021 - 2022

Algorithms in the Swiss Political Discourse

Algorithmically assisted decision-making and monitoring is widespread. For example, automated facial recognition is being used in a wide range of areas: in schools, stadiums and airports. But what does the Swiss political discourse actually look like regarding the use of algorithmic decision-making? This project in cooperation with AlgorithmWatch Switzerland examines which actors shape the public debate around the use of algorithms and from which perspectives algorithms are discussed as politically relevant.

To support the data-based decision-making processes of public and private organisations, an increasing number of systems for automated decision-making (algorithms) are being used. In algorithmic decision-making, data is first analysed and interpreted on the basis of a human-made interpretive model. Subsequently, the action is derived from this interpretation by means of a human-made decision model and can thus act automatically. Despite the better and more efficient decision-making through algorithms, it also brings about problems. The underlying processes are difficult to control publicly and can exacerbate existing social inequalities. The regulation of algorithms therefore offers a new area that needs to be discussed in politics. The Swiss discourse on the use of algorithms will be evaluated in this project to support AlgorithmWatch Switzerland in critically accompanying the increasing use of algorithms in our everyday life. The impact of algorithmic decision-making should thus be brought to the attention of the public and make them aware of the advantages and disadvantages it entails.