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Published: 03 Feb, 2021

AI researchers of tomorrow shaping the future of artificial intelligence

NEWS Robots, drones and intelligent systems interacting with humans are some of the topics raised by 35 PhD students from all over Sweden during WASP-HS graduate school. At the conference they discuss artificial intelligence with perspective on the humanities and social sciences. Seven of the PhD students are based at Umeå University.

Text: Mikael Hansson

WASP-HS, The Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program - Humanities and Society, is a ten-year program funded with SEK 660 million by the Wallenberg Foundations. The aim is to provide space for outstanding research and increased knowledge of the possibilities and challenges of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems in the humanities and social sciences.

The program funds a large number of PhD students to give them a start as good as possible to become the AI researchers of tomorrow. From 9 to 11 February, the program's graduate school gathers 35 PhD students for a conference where they discuss their studies in various subjects based in the humanities and social sciences.

The PhD students in WASP-HS have a strong focus on the social interaction between humans, new technology and artificial intelligence. They study what happens when humans encounter robots, how healthcare changes with robots, what role drones can play in people's everyday lives, how intelligent systems affect humans, how AI affects political expressions in social media, whether AI systems can have legal responsibility and various questions on medical ethics, to name a few research questions.

About 35 PhD students participate in the conference as well as several researchers associated with WASP-HS projects. One goal of the graduate school is to educate future researchers by integrating various subjects in the humanities and social sciences - such as philosophy, law and business, history of ideas, psychology and political science - with a focus on AI and autonomous systems.

“Each PhD student will have the opportunity to present their research, which will provide a very interesting insight into the breadth that today exists in AI research based in the humanities and social sciences,” says Christian Balkenius, Graduate School Director and Professor at Lund University.

In addition to the PhD students having a local foothold at their respective universities, WASP-HS graduate school will build a national community where the students can learn from and support each other during both the doctoral studies and during their continued career in the AI field.

Read more about WASP-HS, a Swedish research program coordinated by Umeå University.