Shaping technologies that impact our democracy — CWI Amsterdam

Democracies around the world are currently under external and internal pressures. At the same time, Western media landscapes are increasingly polarized. The rise of artificial intelligence is having an unprecedented impact on both of these areas, further complicating the picture. The new AI, Media & Democracy Lab, which officially opened its doors on Wednesday September 14, with an event at the Eye Film Museum in Amsterdam, will work at the crossroads of the three areas, trying to stimulate innovative AI applications that will really strengthen democracy function of the media. The lab is a collaboration between UvA, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and Centrum Wiskunde en Informatica (CWI), the Dutch National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science.

“Technology doesn’t just happen to us. It’s up to all of us – developers, journalists, publishers, artists, scholars, regulators and citizens – to shape the technologies that impact our democracy. Natali Helberger, co-founder of the AI, Media & Democracy Lab

ELSA Status

The new lab, which has been awarded ELSA status by the Dutch AI Coalition, will work with journalists, media professionals, designers, citizens, fellow researchers, and public and societal partners, to study the impact of AI on the democratic functions of the media. . Researchers will develop and test value-driven and human-centered AI applications, as well as ethical and legal frameworks for the responsible use of AI.

Nanda Piersma, Lecturer in Responsible Computing and Scientific Director of the Center of Expertise in Applied AI (AUAS), and researcher at CWI: “The application of AI is not trivial and should not be the end of a research process. This lab will be one for inventing together. We will co-create in a sandbox environment, bringing AI solutions to the field step by step, discussing, modeling, building, by testing and finally by implementing.”

Partners across Europe

The lab – which received a €2.1 million grant under the Dutch Research Council’s “Human-centered AI for an inclusive society: Towards an ecosystem of trust” program – will collaborate with partners from Netherlands and across Europe, including RTL, NPO, the Dutch Media Authority, the Royal Netherlands Library, the BBC and the Bayrischer Rundfunk AI Lab, plus many more.

Pablo Cesar, Group Leader of Distributed and Interactive Systems at CWI and Professor of Human-Centered Multimedia Systems at TU Delft: “New technologies come with societal and ethical challenges related to information quality and interaction with the public. One of our approaches will be to include algorithms in the solutions against disinformation and polarization. We will seek human-centered solutions to these challenges and also to increase citizen participation.”

About the AI, Media and Democracy Lab

The AI, Media & Democracy Lab is a collaboration between the research teams of Human(e) AI at UvA and ICDS – Information, Communication and the Data Society (itself a collaboration between the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) and the Institute for Information Law (IViR)), the research groups CWI Human-Centred Data Analytics, Distributed and Interactive Systems and Intelligent and Autonomous Systems, and the research groups AUAS Responsible IT, Network Cultures, Civic Interaction Design, Creative Media for Social Change and Visual Methodologies.

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