What do we want to achieve?
There is a strong consensus that artificial intelligence (AI) will bring forth changes that will be much more profound than any other technological revolution in human history. Depending on the course that this revolution takes, AI will either empower our ability to make more informed choices or reduce human autonomy; expand the human experience or replace it; create new forms of human activity or make existing jobs redundant; help distribute well-being for many or increase the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few; expand democracy in our societies or put it in danger.
Europe carries the responsibility of shaping the AI revolution. The choices we face today are related to fundamental ethical issues about the impact of AI on society, in particular, how it affects labor, social interactions, healthcare, privacy, fairness and security. The ability to make the right choices requires new solutions to fundamental scientific questions in AI and human-computer interaction (HCI).
There is a need of shaping the AI revolution in a direction that is beneficial to humans both individually and societally, and that adheres to European ethical values and social, cultural, legal, and political norms.
What is our challenge?
As core challenge we have identified the development of robust, trustworthy AI systems capable of what could be described as “understanding” humans, adapting to complex real-world environments, and appropriately interacting in complex social settings. The overall vision is to facilitate AI systems that enhance human capabilities and empower individuals and society as a whole while respecting human autonomy and self-determination.
A key message is that this cannot be achieved through regulation that hinders innovation, but must be instead a motor of innovation driving European researchers to develop new unique European AI solutions—which therefore will also have a unique potential to spin-out innovation from the project and thus generating an increased economic activity.
The HumanE AI Net project will engender the mobilization of a research landscape far beyond direct project funding, involve and engage European industry, reach out to relevant social stakeholders, and create a unique innovation ecosystem that provides a many-fold return on investment for the European economy and society.
A key challenge is that such solutions cannot be found by working within the traditional AI silos, but instead require breakthroughs at the interfaces of various areas of AI, HCI, cognitive science, social science, complex systems, etc. HumanE AI thus brings together a unique community which has the expertise both within these silos and at the interfaces between them and can address those challenges. We are in a unique position to address the key gaps in knowledge that prevent the political vision of a human-centric, European brand of AI from becoming reality.