ICDS is an interdisciplinary research initiative into the way AI and algorithms  affect the role, impact and regulation of information and communication in the Data Society. Information and communication technology plays a central role in constituting societal practices and realizing democratic values and fundamental rights. AI and algorithms change established modes of communication deeply and profoundly, and the role that information (data) plays in our society – as a source of knowledge, power and governance. ICDS a joint research initiative between the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) and the Institute for Information Law  that receives Priority Area Funding from the University of Amsterdam. These  two disciplines join forces to ask, and answer, fundamental questions about the role, uses and regulation of data-driven communication and communication infrastructures.

With an important shift from “mass communication” to personalised and automated communication, new theoretical approaches are needed and novel questions need to be addressed. Does more choice in the information environment lead to a disintegrated, self-centered public sphere, extreme opinions, and polarized electorates? Or does personalized communication and algorithms enhance knowledge and citizen engagement? Does microtargeting improve or impede democratic processes? How are algorithms and AI used to persuade people and steer their decisions? How do citizens develop strategies to cope with these AI developments? How far do and should citizens’ enjoy legitimate expectations of ‘privacy,’ ‘autonomy’ or ‘equality’? And how do we define evidence-based framework conditions for the integration of AI and data analytics into societal processes?