The AI, Media & Democracy Lab became one of the recipients of grants towards the development of human-centred AI from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). After receiving the status of ELSA (Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects) Lab last year, the lab has now received a grant of €2.1M.
The grant is being offered as part of ‘Human-centred AI for an inclusive society – towards an ecosystem of trust’ programme, which aims to award a total of five projects. The NWO will offer a total grant of almost €11M across these projects.
What is human-centred AI?
Human-centred AI is a branch of artificial intelligence that learns from human input and collaboration. The focus on algorithms here exists largely among a human-based system. Human-centred AI is defined by systems that are continuously improving because of human input and they also offer much more effective communication between humans and robots.
The human-centred AI can be seen as the next major frontier for AI development where machine intelligence is developed with the intent of understanding “human language, emotion and behaviour”.
With human-centred AI, there are a number of societal benefits including informed decision-making, reliability and scalability. It also offers business benefits such as the application of principled behavioural science to make successful software and new products that could one day reach the success seen by the likes of Instagram and Uber.
In the Netherlands, the human-centred AI is an initiative announced by the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA). The NWO and the NLAIC have launched the ‘Artificial Intelligence: Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence for an inclusive society – towards an ecosystem of trust’ programme as part of this initiative.
The programme aims to promote the development and application of reliable, human-centred AI. It advocates for public-private partnerships, government, industry, education and research institutions and civil society organisations working together to accelerate national AI developments. The programme aims to build human-centred AI applications by connecting existing initiatives while national research agenda AIREA-NL, social and policy issues play an important role.
What will AI, Media & Democracy Lab do with the grant?
The AI, Media & Democracy ELSA Lab has received the grant within the category of Economy, Domestic Governance and Culture & Media. The lab will thus use the grant to investigate the impact of AI on the democratic function of media. The Netherlands has been spearheading this initiative to learn about the impact of AI on various walks of life.
The Dutch AI Coalition (NLAIC) issued a detailed position paper studying the impact of AI in culture and media and outlining future opportunities last week. The grant announced last month should be seen as a continuation of this effort to learn how AI impacts an existing industry and how the industries can adapt to make AI work for good.
As part of its investigation, the ELSA lab will work with “journalists, media professionals, designers, citizens, fellow researchers and public and societal partners”. The Lab will collaborate with partners such as RTL, DPG Media, NPO, Sound and Vision, Media Perspectives, NEMO Kennislink, Waag Society, the Municipality of Amsterdam, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Dutch Media Authority, Hogeschool Utrecht, Utrecht University, Cultural AI Lab, the Royal Library of the Netherlands, the BBC and the Bayerischer Rundfunk AI Lab.
The partnership will culminate in the form of value-driven, human-centric AI applications, as well as ethical and legal frameworks for responsible use of AI. The lab will also aim to stimulate innovative AI applications that strengthen the democratic function of the media.
Prof. Natali Helberger, university professor of Law and Digital Technology at the UvA and co-founder of the AI, Media & Democracy Lab, says, “This grant will enable us to explore alongside our partners how AI can play a role in the democratic and independent role of the media, the public sphere and for citizens seeking information. The AI, Media & Democracy Lab can contribute to independent innovation, but also help in forming a vision for the future of media in our digital society.”