Rainer’s work focuses on ethics, social philosophy, philosophy of technology and media studies of the digital society. Current topics include
- ethics and social philosophy of artificial intelligence,
- ethics and critique with regard to structural effects,
- privacy and data protection in the context of Big Data,
- intersectionality and anti-discrimination in digital technology,
- critical media philosophy of Human-Machine interaction.
Rainer’s research on Artificial Intelligence starts from the assumption that Machine Learning Systems are sociotechnical systems (see “Human-Aided AI”). To map out the ethical and societal implications AI technology, he uses different philosophical schools and perspectives to analyze the interplay of technology, power and subjectivation. In particular, he brings together ethics with social philosophy and critical theories to analyse the effects of AI in terms of discrimination, social selection and inequality (see “Automatisierte Ungleicheit”).
A particular research interest is data ethics in the Context of AI and Big Data. These technologies make it possible to predict sensitive information about individuals based on the anonymized data of many other data subjects. This results in a novel, collectively induced invasion of privacy of the individuals concerned, raising new questions of collective responsibility in the digital society. Under the title Predictive Privacy Rainer works on an ethical and regulatory approach to restricting negative impact of predictive analytics.
In cooperation with applied sciences and industrial partners, Rainer is involved in the development of Ethics by Design approaches in human-computer interaction (see the SIMPORT project). This includes research on the ethics of usability and User Experience Design (see “digitale Entmündigung”).
In previous work, Rainer has worked on the connection of digital media and affectivity, including an affect theory of the new authoritarianism.
In many of his projects, Rainer draws on his interdisciplinary education, seeking to enter into a dialogue between the humanities and mathematics, computer science and natural sciences.
Rainer Mühlhoff is involved in several third-party funded projects: As philosophical PI he leads the ethics component of the interdisciplinary project SIMPORT (BMBF, 2020-2023). Since 2019 he is a member of the Executive Board of the Excellence Cluster Science of Intelligence at the Technische Universität Berlin.