Tue, 12.04.2022 17:30

Google, surveillance capitalism, and discrimination – from critique to intervention?

Google's hegemonial stand, its algorithms, and possible interventions are at the focus of this event. ITA researcher Astrid Mager will present the results of her FWF project and bring together leading search engine researchers to discuss Google critique, regulation, and alternatives.

With Google being front and center, search engines have been exposed again and again for not offering objective results. It has been proven that Google placed its own products on valuable “front-page real estate”, and notions such as the “Googlization of everything” underline its hegemonic position. It has a business model based on user profiling dubbed surveillance capitalism. More recently, Google’s algorithms have been found to output biased and discriminatory results. Building on this critique, what interventions are necessary and what are possible alternatives? How has regulation, specifically of Google and surveillant platforms more generally, responded to these developments? What else is to be done about the hegemony of Google, its vast personal data collection, its discriminatory results, and the governance and accountability of engines and other online platforms? Finally, how can we pave the way towards more open, just, and independent search engines and infrastructures in the future?

This public event brings together leading search engine scholars to discuss these questions from a European perspective. The evening opens with a talk by Astrid Mager, senior postdoc at the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, presenting the results of her project „Algorithmic Imaginaries“. It is followed by a lively panel discussion with international guests.


17:30 –  17:40                                          

Welcome by Anna Artaker, member of the directorate of the Young Academy of the OEAW

17:40 – 18:00

Lecture “Algorithmic Imaginaries” by Astrid Mager (ITA/OEAW)

18:00 – 18:15

From Google Critique to Intervention? Short position statements by panellists: Rosie Graham (University of Birmingham), Bernhard Rieder (University of Amsterdam) und Elizabeth Van Couvering (Karlstad University)

18:15 – 19:00

Panel discussion moderated by Ov Cristian Norocel (Lund University) and Richard Rogers (University of Amsterdam)

19:00 – 20:00

Wine reception 

Astrid Mager is a senior postdoc at the ITA and a lecturer at the Department of Science and Technology Studies (University of Vienna). Since 2018 she is a member of the Young Academy of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

The event will take place in english. Registration for on-site participation requested.

The COVID measures valid at the time apply.

The lecture can also be followed via internet by livestream.



Project presentation and panel discussion
12. April 2022, 17:30 – 20:00h
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Doktor-Ignaz-Seipel-Platz 2, 1010 Vienna





The event is organized by the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OEAW) as part of Astrid Mager’s habilitation project “Algorithmic Imaginaries. Visions and values in the shaping of search engines”, funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF (Elise Richter Programm).