3 Questions to Anikó Hannák

Anikó Hannák joined our Faculty at the beginning of January 2020 as Assistant Professor in the Social Computing Group. Her main interest is in computer-based social sciences, especially the co-evolution of online systems and their users. Broadly speaking, her work investigates the potential negative consequences of big-data algorithms used in areas such as web search, online shops and online labour markets.

What do you focus on in your research?

My research focuses on the interaction of users and online platforms. New technologies are present in every aspect of our lives now, I’m trying to understand the potential harm that they might pose to individuals and society, especially in the context of online platforms that use big data algorithms. 

What would you like to convey to your students?

Since I teach computer science to the students, the most important thing I want to convey to them is to be critical with technologies – in two ways: both what they use and also what they will develop in the future. They should always think of the users and keep in mind the larger societal context in which technologies are deployed.

What were the decisive factors for you to join the University of Zurich?

The potential for interdisciplinary collaborations (for example DSI), being in Zurich in general, and I also like that the Computer Science Department is part of the Business and Economics Faculty. I think that aligns with the way I think of Computer Science very much. In most cases it’s part of the engineering school but here I can see that the Faculty thinks of Computer Science as something that has societal impact.