HumaneAI Vision of European Artificial Intelligence

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.

What will be our results?

We will make the results of the research available to the European AI community through the AI4EU platform and a Virtual Laboratory, develop a series of summer schools, tutorials and MOOCs to spread the knowledge, develop a dedicated innovation ecosystem for transforming research and innovation into an economic impact and value for society, establish an industrial Ph.D. program and involve key industrial players from sectors crucial to the European economy in research agenda definition and results evaluation in relevant use cases.

What is our take on “legal protection by design”?

This project aims to take seriously the fact that the development and deployment of AI systems is not above the law, as decided in constitutional democracies. This feeds into the task of addressing the question of incorporation of fundamental rights protection into the architecture of AI systems including (1) checks and balances of the Rule of Law and (2) requirements imposed by positive law that elaborates fundamental rights protection. A key result of this task will be a report on a coherent set of design principles firmly grounded in relevant positive law, with a clear emphasis on European law (both EU and Council of Europe). To help developers understand the core tenets of the EU legal framework, we have developed two tutorials, one in 2020 on Legal Protection by Design in relation to EU data protection law [hyperlink to Tutorial 2020] and one in 2021 on the European Commission’s proposal of an EU AI Act [hyperlink to Tutorial 2021]. In the Fall of 2022 we will follow up with a Tutorial on the proposed EU AI Liability Directive.