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Public lecture by Prof. Vladan Joler

The lecture Forensics of Exploitation: Anatomy of an AI System by prof. Vladan Joler from Novi Sad University covers the invisible matrix of human labour, energy consumption and resource extraction that is hidden behind digital networks and Artificial Intelligence. Specifically, it takes the home assistant Amazon Echo as a case study of black box technology and, step by step, reconstructs its design and the relations of each component with planetary ecology and economy.

Vladan Joler is a professor at the New Media department of the University of Novi Sad and leader of SHARE Lab (, an independent investigation group from former Yugoslavia that works with data visualisation and digital forensic methodologies to expose black box technologies. “Anatomy of an AI system” is a visual essay co-authored by Vladan Joler and Kate Crawford, director of the AI Now Institute at New York University:

Time: December 11, 10am-1pm
Venue: Großes Studio, HfG Karlsruhe
Language: English


PART 1 – Network Topology and Tracking Forensics With the help of different tools we map Internet service providers (ISP) and the way in which they monitor and control data traffic. Through the trace routing of individual Internet packages, we discover the presence of large physical infrastructures such as suboceanic cables, huge datacenters and various parasitic systems of surveillance economy.

PART 2 – Email Metadata Analysis Metadata are a basic resource in the exploitation, monitoring and control of the digital environment. What are the risks for individual privacy and what can be revealed by metadata analysis? We will play with a sample of 100,000 leaked emails from a notorious cyber-weapon company. Through a sort of “Do-It-Yourself NSA” data analysis, we investigate its organizational structure, its networks of communication and the patterns of behaviour of its members. A meta-portrait of this murky organisation will emerge.

PART 3 – Mapping Information Warfare The techniques of data analysis can be used also for disinformation and information warfare. Based on data of attacks against online media and journalists in the past four years, we visualize and quantify various forms of information warfare. DDOS attacks, systematic manipulation of comments on media websites and online fake groups will be studied.

PART 4 – Investigating Algorithms AI and Big Data are increasingly used to replace human decision making. Therefore, questions about algorithmic ethics, accountability and transparency are becoming more and more important. One of the largest global systems of online moderation is Facebook with about 2 billion users in 2018. What is happening inside the invisible walls of this complex algorithmic machine? We will explore a unique map that describes the transformation of immaterial labour and individual data into value and control.

Workshop is open to all students. Please register via Marco Kempf:

Time: December 12-13, 10am-1pm
Venue: "Black box" (3rd floor), HfG Karlsruhe
Language: English

In collaboration with the Communication Design department and within the framework of the Broken Black Boxes course.

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