Automating Welfare in the Baltic Sea Region
This project investigates the implementation of automated decision-making in the welfare sector in the Baltic Sea region being one of the first to link automation to questions of shrinking trust, decline in civic participation and in extension challenges for democracy. Data-based infrastructures for public administration are shaping not only welfare provision, but also state-citizen relations and open up questions of ethics and accountability, human agency in relation to complex socio-technical systems as well as biases and inequalities. AUTO-WELF is premised on three major developments: 1) a shift towards digitalisation of society 2) major changes in the organisation of the welfare state 3) shrinking trust in democracy. It foregrounds the perspective of citizens both in terms of the introduction process and its democratic implications.
Combining mapping, policy analysis, organisational ethnographies, surveys, in-depth interviews and expert interviews, the project analysis development, practices, attitudes and implications of automated decision-making in the welfare sector. The project focuses on the case studies of Estonia, Germany, and Sweden representing three types of the welfare state and different stages of automated decision-making. It provides an in-depth and cutting-edge understanding of the process of automating welfare from a Baltic Sea region perspective producing highly relevant insights into how automated decision-making can support but also harm democracy.