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AI, Democracy and Self-Determination

Research project In this project we will investigate to what extent and how AI can be designed and used to behave in line with ethical principles and social values.

In particular, we aim to investigate the impact of AI systems on self-determination and on democratic processes and values.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period:

2019-09-01 2023-09-01

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Computing Science, Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious studies

Research subject

Computing science

Project description

We approach this challenge by first analysing the expectations of people about the ethical and societal impact of AI, on how AI will lead to novel models of democracy, and on the capability of people to exert their right to self-determination.

We will then develop computational theories and methods to design and evaluate AI applications such that they meet societal and ethical needs and expectations.

We will evaluate these systems in a simulation environment that enables us to create synthetic communities of artificial agents and test the resulting social behaviour as these agents interact with each other and with AI systems.

We compare these results to those empirically obtained in three case studies: about pluralism in political debate, about critical scrutiny in public decision-making, and about self-determination in the interaction with virtual coaches for improving health.

The project is part of the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program - Humanities and Society (WASP-HS). The program is initiated and generously funded by the Wallenberg Foundations. The vision of WASP-HS is to realise excellent research and build competence on the ethical, economic, labor market, social and legal aspects of Artificial Intelligence.

For more information about the research and other activities in the program, please visit WASP-HS.