Seminar 1 - Big Data and its Ethical Implications
Should data rule tomorrow’s world?

University of Passau
22-26 February 2021
Big Data
Hybrid Seminar

First Seminar
A relaxed discussion among Masters students and professional experts from Romania, Italy, Germany and France seated around a fireplace: an impossible scene in February 2021 at the very heart of the Corona-pandemic? Well digitally, anything is feasible!

On the 23rd February 2021, the first day of the seminar, the Masters students that participated in the seminar gathered with mentors and experts around a fireplace to know each other. They laugh, exchange ideas about this week’s topic “Should big data rule tomorrow’s world” and discuss how to organise themselves in order to work together during the next days. If one of them leaves the discussion, he/she can simply move to another room, meet other participants and possibly join or start a new conversation: just like in any conference coffee break.

FIT Europe Passau Seminar, not a usual academic meeting!

The first FIT Europe seminar is not a usual academic meeting, where students exchange with other students and academic professors, but a one-week package of training on various issues with various professionals. As the development of data will be a future issue affecting not only the technological development of artificial intelligence and computer science, but the whole society, the Passau seminar is built so as to provide students not only with technological skills related to the latest innovations in artificial intelligence and big data, but also with “soft skills”, through the inputs provided by experts in law, in humanities as well as in human resources and the development of business strategies. And it followed a really innovative and interactive format that combined presentations, exchanges and joint work among international students and experts.

Diversity of approaches, multiple beneficiaries!

Thanks to this diversity of approaches, different fields and questions were discussed, hence widening the academic approach usually offered to computer science Master students, and opening their knowledge and skills on ethical, societal, legal and even business and human resources management issues. As a result, Fit Europe students and professionals discuss about how AI is having an impact on our society’s values, a few hours later about diversity and multi-generational issues in the workplace, before addressing in depth the problem of liability and rights for AI within autonomous driving. All of these are subjects which are important not only for IT specialists but also for the society a whole, for which our society’s future leaders should be prepared. And while mixing professors, students and professionals, we observe that the participating students are not the only ones who benefit from such cross-linking conversations: also the academic and industrial partners discover new angles for tackling these issues, through their exchanges with these promising students.

Expert Talks
    During the seminar, multiple expert talks took place:
  • When Big Data meets AI, Michael Granitzer (University of Passau) & Pierre Edouard Portier (INSA Lyon)
  • Scalable tools for using AI for Big Data, Ernesto Damiani (University of Milan)
  • AI and ethics, Phlipp Slusalleck (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence - DFKI) & Julien Carme (Worldline)
  • Big Data for the European Citizen, Frédéric Prost (Grenoble Alpes University)
  • Working 2.0, Roland Wossidlo (ATOS)
  • Legal Implications of AI, Claudia Heudecker (University of Passau)
  • Working on Big Data Datasets, Cătălin Negru (University Politehnica of Bucharest) & Florin Pop (University Politehnica of Bucharest)
  • AI & big Data start-ups business, Amélie Cordier (La FRENCH TECH)
Project Work
    Creating international teams of students for a Project Work was one of the innovative aspects of the Fit Europe Project. Five teams were created and each team was composed of 4 students (each team included one student per participating higher education institution).
    At the end of the week, student teams presented their work and they won prizes. Students were not left alone: each team was helped by a pair of two mentors who guided them in their project. These mentors included academics from the 4 participating institutions.
Networking Aspect
    The online format of the seminar had of course an impact on the networking possibilities. However, due to organization, project works and tools that were used during the seminar, the majority of students (83%) found the Networking Aspect of the seminar enriching or very enriching.