Future Research Agenda

Future Research Agenda

The Centre for Internet & Human Rights has been going through a transition period at the beginning of 2019. CIHR Director Joanna Bronowicka has stepped down from her position to pursue new projects outside of CIHR and Christina Dinar joined us from Amadeu Antonio Foundation to lead CIHR as Deputy Director. This has led the leadership of CIHR to re-evaluate the focus of our work and focus our research more intensely on current challenges to human rights in a digital context.

To empower those who foster democracy and seek social justice not just in the analog but also in the digital world is one of the core human rights challenges for the coming years. Ensuring that vibrant, open online speech remains possible not just for the loudest speakers, but for everyone involved regardless of the gender, skin color or social background. Freedom of expression is a right not just for the loudest speakers, but for everyone in society to be able to seek, receive and impart. This means to take a clear stand against those, who create hate and extremism in order to undermine democracy.

Based on our research, we believe it is critical to strengthen existing online communities and build resilient public and democratic digital spaces, without just relying on pressuring private platforms or using automated filtering algorithms ‘fix’ the problem. As pervasive automation becomes ever more prevalent in human life-worlds, it becomes equally important to ensure oversight, accountability and other basic standards of governance are integrated. Precisely because no technology is value-free, we intend to show how human-centric automation can contribute to safeguarding human rights.

The same over-reliance on automated technical ‘solutions’ can be observed in efforts at safeguarding human rights in the workplace. Our research suggests that the future of work is increasingly digitally mediated and is challenging basic individual and collective rights of workers. There is an urgent need to better understanding socio-technical systems in a workplace, how these systems are developed and how they enable or disable human and collective rights.

We believe that the future of democracy, human-centric automation and the future of work are inextricably linked. These three fields are thus at the core of our future research agenda. As we are a community-based and community-driven organisation, we developed these ideas in close collaboration with colleagues and fellows, both past and present. We look forward to working together in future and are happy to answer any questions you might have.

Christina Dinar (current CIHR Director) Joanna Bronowicka (former CIHR Director)