Christoph Bieber awarded Thomas Mann Fellowship in Los Angeles


  Prof. Dr. Christoph Bieber

Head of Research Incubator, Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS)

Welker-Stiftungsprofessur für Ethik in Politikmanagement und Gesellschaft
NRW School of Government / Universität Duisburg-Essen

Christoph Bieber awarded Thomas Mann Fellowship in Los Angeles

Bochum, 30 July 2020

Congratulations to Prof. Dr. Christoph Bieber. The head of the Research Incubator at the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) has been selected by the advisory board  of the Thomas Mann House to be a Fellow for 2021. A three-month stay in Los Angeles will allow Bieber to develop an ethical Smart City policy based on the dignity and autonomy of city residents.

Prof. Dr. Christoph Bieber

Prof. Dr. Christoph Bieber (Photo: Michael Schwettmann)

Opened by the German government in 2016 as a meeting and research center for outstanding scholars and intellectuals from all disciplines, the Thomas Mann House hosts researchers who are dealing with the pressing challenges of our time. As one of a total of six scholarship holders selected, Bieber convinced the advisory board with his research project: he wants to investigate the effects of Smart City projects on digital self-determination. “Los Angeles is considered one of the most digitally networked cities in the USA. I am conducting a case study on site that shows how an ethical Smart City policy based on the dignity and autonomy of city residents can be developed”.

Los Angeles is currently experiencing an economic boom: as a new high-tech location with forward-looking start-ups, the city is showing that it has the prerequisites to become a second Silicon Valley. But what does this digital change mean for politics and especially for society? According to Bieber: “Besides offering the potential for networking, developing production, and promoting location and technology, a city also has to be geared to the needs of its residents”.

How do data and algorithms affect urban development? What does this mean for coexistence, when more and more technology providers are shaping the public discourse and focusing solely on increasing efficiency? Bieber plans to explore these and other questions on site, probably starting in summer 2021. A picture of the current situation will be provided by interviews and workshops with city policymakers, with digital innovators and groups involved in Smart City projects, and with US experts. Bieber plans to publish the first results after his stay.

Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House is an independent and non-party mediator of the Federal Republic of Germany that promotes intellectual and cultural exchange between Germany and the United States of America. It keeps alive the memory of the European history of exile in California, conveys a contemporary, diverse image of Germany, and enables joint reflection on social, cultural, and political challenges.