Social and Ethical Implications of Digitalization - M.Sc.

General information

  • Module: Social and Ethical Implications of Digitalization
  • Module number lecture: M.WIWI-WIN.0023
  • UniVZ: 801481
  • Credits: 6 ECTS
  • Cycle: single
  • Language: English
  • Examination: written examination (100%)
  • Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Robert Wayne Gregory
  • Contact: Henrik Lechte

This course is currently paused and will not take place in summer semester 2022.

Learning outcome, core skills

This course aims to explore the digitalization of society from the standpoint of socially responsible digital leadership. It develops a set of concepts, frameworks, and tools to help students understand how to make decisions related to digitalization that establish a meaningful balance between the enabling and constraining ICT roles.


This course is organized based on two complementary frameworks. First, a framework for Ethics. Second, a framework for Digitalization.

1) Ethics framework. The following areas of “digital ethics” will be explored in the course:

  • Security (identification mechanisms, encryption, backups, hacking, etc.)
  • Cybercrime (robbery, identity theft, extortion, etc.)
  • Privacy (big data, etc.)
  • Social interaction (social technology, online communication, etc.)
  • Governance (rules, regulations, net neutrality, etc.)
  • Free will (how to use technology, algorithmic regulation, ethics of algorithms, etc.)
  • Society and economy (the digital revolution, smart machines eliminating jobs, autonomous technologies, etc.)

2) Digitalization framework. The following areas of digitalization from a societal perspective will be explored in the course:

  • Connections (Mobile Technology, Cloud Computing, the Internet of Everything, etc.)
  • Information (Big Data, Transparency, the Generation and Sharing of Information, etc.)
  • Interactions (Social Technology, Online Communities, Digital Platforms, Crowdsourcing, etc.)
  • Intelligence (Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, Man-Machine Symbiosis, etc.)

The course employs a combination of case discussions and lectures.

Exam requirements

In order to accomplish this course successfully, students are expected to document an understanding of:

  • Individual and societal impacts of digitalization including potential ethical risks (including, for example, privacy concerns, security issues, cybercrime, consequences of breakdowns of fully automated systems, income inequality, and worsening other existing social problems)
  • Socially responsible digital leadership (including the enabling and constraining roles of ICT in the design, implementation, and use of the new generation of these technologies also referred to as digital technologies and platforms).

Recommended previous knowledge

Basic knowledge of business administration and information management