The AI, Media & Democracy Lab – a collaboration between the UvA (project leader), the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and the National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI) – has been awarded a grant of 2.1 million euros as part of the Dutch Research Council’s (NWO) programme ‘Human-centred AI for an inclusive society – towards an ecosystem of trust’. The programme will allow researchers in so-called ELSA Labs (‘Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects’) to work together with media companies and cultural institutions to increase knowledge about the development and application of reliable, human-oriented AI. In total, the NWO will award five projects in this call, for a total of almost 11 million euros.
The AI, Media & Democracy ELSA Lab is one of the projects receiving a grant within the category Economy, Domestic Governance and Culture & Media. The Lab investigates the impact of AI on the democratic function of media. Together with journalists, media professionals, designers, citizens, fellow researchers and public and societal partners, the Lab develops and tests value-driven, human-centric AI applications, as well as ethical and legal frameworks for responsible use of AI. The aim of the Lab is to stimulate innovative AI applications that strengthen the democratic function of the media. The Lab collaborates 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 Bayrischer Rundfunk AI Lab.
Fundamental rights, human rights and support
The ELSA Labs are co-creative environments where interdisciplinary and interrelated research is conducted into some of the technological and economic issues that we are faced with as a society. The research funded by the NWO grant must must support the development of technological innovations that safeguard public values and constitutional rights, respect human rights – and strengthen these where possible – and that can count on public support.
About human-centred AI
As part of the Dutch Research Agenda, the NWO and the Dutch AI Coalition have launched the programme ‘Artificial Intelligence: Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence for an inclusive society – towards an ecosystem of trust’. The programme promotes the development and application of reliable, human-centred AI. Public-private partnerships, government, industry, education and research institutions and civil society organisations will work together to accelerate national AI developments and connect existing initiatives. The national research agenda AIREA-NL and social and policy issues play an important role in this.
The AI, Media & Democracy Lab is a collaboration between the UvA’s research teams Human(e) AI and ICDS (Information, Communication and the Data Society), the CWI’s research groups Human-Centered Data Analytics, Distributed and Interactive Systems, and Intelligent and Autonomous Systems, and the HvA lectorates Responsible IT, Network Cultures, Civic Interaction Design, Crossmedia, and Visual Methodologies.
The AI, Media & Democracy Lab focuses on how AI and digital technology are transforming media and democracy. The researchers will tackle specific issues surrounding the use of AI in the media, such as ways to develop more people-oriented and diverse systems or the possible role of chatbots in news provision. In addition, they and the various partners in the lab will think about what the media of tomorrow should look like. To this end, the lab will bring together fundamental and applied research in the fields of law, ethics, communication science, media studies and computer science. For more information about the lab, please find the website of the AI, Media and Democracy Lab here.