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Two AI Grants for Leiden University

NWO (the Dutch Research Council) has granted more than 10 million euros for five human-centered AI research projects (2.1M€ each). Leiden University participates in two of these five research proposals, which are called ELSA labs.

ELSA stands for Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects, which are important aspects to consider when developing AI. Taking ELSA into account in the design of AI will ensure that future AI and AI applications are trustworthy, ethical, user-friendly, safe, legitimate and generally accepted.

In these ELSA labs, researchers from knowledge institutions and public and private organizations contribute to knowledge about the development and application of reliable, human-centered Artificial Intelligence (AI). The projects have a duration of five years and start in 2022.

These research projects fit well within SAILS, the university wide interdisciplinary research program on AI at Leiden University. The main goal of the SAILS program is to ensure that the development of AI is not merely a technological endeavor. Designing and developing safe and sound AI requires input from many disciplines, including ethics, law, psychology, linguistics, and  governance.

The two projects that have been awarded funding and in which Leiden University is involved are:

  1. ELSA Lab Defence (coordinated by TNO, participation of prof. Bart CusterseLaw)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a crucial role within the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide safety and security. Examples are enabling high-speed processing of big data, and intelligent, unmanned robots. The introduction of AI technology in defence also raises a host of ethical, legal, and societal concerns, including how to keep AI-powered systems under meaningful human control, and how to maintain human dignity when giving autonomy to machines. The ELSA Lab Defence addresses this question by developing a future-proof, independent and consultative ecosystem that enables the responsible use of AI in defence.

  1. AI for Multi-Agency Public Safety Issues (AI-MAPS, coordinated by Erasmus University Rotterdam, participation of dr. Francien Dechesne and prof. Valerie FrisseneLaw)

Public Safety is vital for the functioning of societies: without safety, there is no freedom, no happiness, and no prosperity. The public good of safety matters to all of us and therefore needs to be jointly shaped and maintained by all societal partners. Data generated by multiple agents play an increasingly important role in preventing, preparing for and mitigating harm or disaster. The development of an ecosystem of trust regarding AI-assisted public safety promotion is central to this ELSA Lab application. In a variety of use cases, benefits and safeguards are analysed against the private-public-machine agency backdrop.

More details can be found on the NWO website: 

Grants announcements: https://www.nwo.nl/en/news/more-10-million-euros-human-centred-ai-research-elsa-labs

Call for ELSA AI Labs: https://www.nwo.nl/en/calls/dutch-research-agenda-theme-synergy-theme-artificial-intelligence-human-centred-ai-inclusive

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