(Starting 2020, Policy Thinking replaced Economical Thinking as part of the course.)
Five years ago, the GDPR – a prime example of policy thinking in informatics – became effective. Since than, many other IT-specific legislations and policies have been developed or discussed in the EU alone, such as the privacy regulation, the AI guidelines, or the e-Business regluation. It has become obvious, that many other legislative bodies plan to regulate the technology industry, or the application of technology. The reason for this sudden legislative activity is that we see how the IT industry and its products exert pressure, or at least influence on societies to change their regulative frameworks. AI and ML, self-driving cars, UAVs, fourth industrial revolution, smart cities – all of those trends or technologies require regulative frameworks to change, or to be created from scratch.
Policy Thinking tries to offer students a framework of terms and definitions to reflect on these new necessities in a systematic and analytical way. We show that big tech cannot be reigned in through responsible innovation or self-regulation of the involved actors, but that we need to understand and define the tools of societal regulation, eg. laws, taxing, or targeted funding.
Every year, two current topics are discussed in detail (2020: ad-tech and self-driving cars). This chapter is lectured towards the end of the course, which allows for many crosslinks to be made into other chapters.