Universiteit Leiden

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Gravitation Grant for combining human and artificial intelligence

The project Hybrid Intelligence receives 19 million euros from the Gravitation programme of the Dutch Research Council (NWO). The consortium consists of six Dutch universities and combines human and artificial intelligence, aiming to amplify human intelligence instead of replacing it. Leiden professors Catholijn Jonker and Holger Hoos are involved in the project.

AI and humans: creating synergy

The six universities will develop theories and methods for intelligent systems that cooperate with humans, that adapt to dynamic circumstances and that can explain their actions. The research proposal states the following: ‘The challenge – addressed in this long-term, large-scale scientific endeavor – is to build intelligent systems that augment and amplify rather than replace human intelligence, that leverage our strengths and compensate for our weaknesses. Virtual agents and robots will help children with concentration problems to study better. Or virtual agents will collaborate with scientists on large scale analysis of the literature, formulate new hypotheses and help design experiments to test them.’

Catholijn Jonker

The shepherd and his dog

Catholijn Jonker elucidates the goals of the project on the website of TU Delft: ‘In the Hybrid Intelligence project, we are working on a symbiosis between artificial and human intelligence that strengthens our human intelligence. Compare it to a shepherd dog that strengthens the sheep-herding capacities of a shepherd. This collaboration between the VU, TU Delft, Leiden and other partners will make a major, fundamental contribution in all those areas of artificial intelligence that are needed to achieve that symbiosis.’

Holger Hoos


Holger Hoos: ‘The Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science as an institute is very much focussed on AI and related areas of advanced computation. This Gravitation Grant will allow us to strengthen that focus and to bring our competence to the national stage.’ Hoos is co-initiator of the Confederated Laboratories for AI Research in Europe (CLAIRE), which aims for a central European hub for AI. ‘HI is very well-aligned, and has been strongly informed, by the emerging European focus on human-centred AI. It is also strongly leveraging the vision for European excellence in AI pursued by CLAIRE,’ he concludes.

The project is led by Frank van Harmelen from VU Amsterdam and is a unique collaboration between Amsterdam (VU & UvA), Delft, Groningen, Leiden and Utrecht. Catholijn Jonker is one of the applicants of the programme. She is professor of Interactive Intelligence at TU Delft and Professor of Explainable Artificial Intelligence at Leiden University. Professor of Machine learning Holger Hoos is one of the participants.   

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