Vision, Mission & Values

Our vision

We envision a world where technology in general, and algorithmic systems in particular, are used to protect and benefit human beings. They should make societies more just, democratic, inclusive and sustainable, be it with regard to alleged or claimed race and gender, sexual orientation, abilities, age, wealth, class, or resource consumption.

Our mission

We ensure that the use of algorithmic systems benefits the many, not the few. We advocate for algorithmic systems that protect democracy and the rule of law instead of authoritarianism, freedom instead of surveillance, human rights instead of dehumanization, autonomy instead of power asymmetries, justice and equality instead of favoritism and discrimination, and a sustainable instead of an exploitative way of living.

To achieve this mission, we

Our values

At AlgorithmWatch, we practice what we expect from others: respect, fairness, solidarity, integrity, inclusivity, diversity, transparency, accountability. We live a culture of both rigor and forgiveness. We give our best and accept that mistakes are a necessary part of learning, both individually and as an organization. We believe in encouragement, not degradation. We stand by each other.

Our positions and demands are based on evidence gained by professional analysis and high standards of research. We are politically non-partisan and non-sectarian. We call out nonsense no matter where it comes from, stand up to power, and are ourselves open to being challenged from anyone with a reasoned argument. We engage with anyone who exhibits genuine goodwill towards solving problems, be it civil society, governments, public authorities, academia, or private companies.

We are convinced that civil society and individuals and groups affected by algorithmic systems must be a key voice in this debate, and we strive to be a convincing and respectful representative of the public interest.

We only accept funding that does not compromise our ability to address issues freely, thoroughly and objectively. We produce and publish accurate and timely reports of our activities and funding.

As a team, we acknowledge people as individuals with dignity, not as human resources whose value can be quantified and measured by performance metrics. We understand that being a diverse and inclusive team is a continuous process. To make it a successful one, we have to be willing to listen and learn, to see and question privilege and act upon the results. We strive for balanced and diverse representation on our governing bodies and our team.

We don't take ourselves more seriously than necessary. We believe that a day without laughing together and about ourselves is a wasted day.

Travel and Sustainability

Is travel necessary?

The most effective way to reduce carbon emissions due to travelling is, of course, to reduce the number of trips. Before we embark on official travel, we consider attending meetings, conferences or events remotely. This is particularly important in the case of long trips that cannot be made by train, which cause by far the most CO2 emissions.

At the same time, we think that meeting people “in the flesh” can be a necessity under certain circumstances – mainly to establish trust and a relationship that can then be adequately continued online, or in situations where there is a lot of intense, spontaneous and unmitigated interaction beneficial or even necessary to accomplish a certain purpose, e.g., in a strategy planning meeting or a design workshop.

Also, the concept of sustainability cannot be reduced to carbon emissions or energy consumption. People need time to relax, spend it with their partners, families and friends. In addition, especially in a non-profit/charitable organization, resources have to be used prudently, i.e., must not be spent on excessive travel time.

In order to balance these factors, we decided to aim for ambitious goals but leave flexibility for exceptional circumstances.

Train travel is the default option, flying the exception

In order to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption, we take the following steps:

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