Calculating participation – How algorithmic processes impact opportunities to be part of society

Algorithms are increasingly making decisions with us, for us and about us – thereby giving rise to new questions about participation. This expert opinion makes a number of initial suggestions for structuring and classifying the participation-related issues stemming from algorithmic decision-making (ADM). In today’s digitized knowledge so-ciety, shaping technology is becoming a fundamental form of power. And if knowledge is power, then algorithms are becoming today’s instruments of power. To what degree is it acceptable and desirable for algorithms to have an impact on the lives of individuals and on society as a whole? And which aspects of ADM must we consider more closely if we want to benefit from the potentials and minimize the risks to the greatest degree possible?

This expert opinion offers a general overview of ADM processes by explaining key concepts, delimiting the relevant area of analysis of ADM processes and presenting typical scenarios and functions relating to the use of these processes. With this as a basis, a system for classifying ADM processes is then proposed. The objective is to make it easier to evaluate and compare the potential impact of ADM processes on participation by using fewer criteria. This, in turn, will facilitate a prioritization and preparation of more in-depth research on the subject.