The consortium ‘The Algorithmic Society (ALGOSOC)’ receives 21.3 million euros from the Gravitation programme. Professor of Communication and Behavioral Change Moniek Buijzen of the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences is together with co-applicants dr. Ester Rozendaal (ESSB) and  Prof. Ting Li (Rotterdam School of Management) part of the consortium led by the University of Amsterdam. The project investigates how within the development of (semi-) automated processes, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), public values and human rights can be safeguarded.

Social consequences of AI

Moniek Buijzen is pleased that the consortium is also looking at the social aspects of AI. “AI has a clear impact on our society. Just think of systems used by banks or health insurance companies. You can see that prejudices or biases arise in them. An example of this is the benefits affair with the Tax Authorities. The impact of that is enormous”.

People power machines

AI Systems often appear to be technology and efficiency-driven, forgetting human values such as autonomy, dignity and privacy. “They come into play, and that needs to be rethought. For this very purpose, we need the social sciences and humanities. In the past three years, we have seen the urgency of this issue grow. I am glad that we can now get to work. The consortium’s research also fits in perfectly with our Movez lab and the Erasmus Initiative ‘Societal Impact of AI’.”

Research focus aligns with faculty

“As Dean of ESSB, I am incredibly proud that ESSB and Moniek Buijzen played an important role in securing this leading grant. I would also like to congratulate the other consortium participants and, in particular, the UvA as the lead party. Participation in this Gravitation programme shows that the choice we made as EUR and ESSB to focus on the question of how technology development affects our way of living, working and thinking and vice versa, is embraced as promising.” says Victor Bekkers, dean of ESSB.

Research of international top level

The Gravitation programme is implemented by NWO on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Seven consortiums were ultimately selected from 40 applications. Researchers can carry out top-level university research and multidisciplinary collaboration for ten years. Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf: “For top-level international research, peace and quiet are essential. With this major boost we are offering long-term prospects and adequate funding to collaborating excellent research groups. Researchers from these scientific consortia, who are among the world’s best in their field, can use Gravitation to work on groundbreaking research.”

Credits: EUR News Release