Funding awarded in research programme 'Designing for public values in a digital world'
The research programme “Responsible Innovation. Designing for public values in a digital world” has awarded funding to five promising research proposals for research into safeguarding public values in the design and use of new digital technology.
Freedom, security and the safeguarding of public values are not possible in the 21st century without digital technology like Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things, Blockchain and Robotics. A big challenge in digital societies is finding technological and institutional solutions for fundamental value conflicts. This challenge takes centre stage in the research programme "Responsible Innovation. Designing for public values in a digital world". The five projects awarded funding contribute to new knowledge about this issue. The programme is a unique collaboration of NWO with the municipality of The Hague and the Ministries of the Interior & Kingdom Relations, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Justice & Security.
The programme committee of “Designing for public values in the digital world” awarded a total of 3.1 million euros, allocated across five research projects. The proposals awarded funding cover a wide range of subjects at the interface of digital technology and socially responsible innovation. Designs considered concern transparency and legitimacy in blockchain applications, the position of values in standardisation of digital infrastructures, opportunities and threats of political micro-targeting, the incorporation of public values for digital data in humanitarian action, and the safeguarding of public values in human-machine collaborations for military purposes. The projects will start at the beginning of 2020.
The proposals below have been awarded funding (listed in alphabetical order of the main applicant):
Agency and Compliance by Design in Military AI Technologies – Dr. B. Boutin – University of Amsterdam (Main applicant)
This project will explore conditions and modalities to leverage the potential benefits of AI technologies and human-machine partnerships in the military while abiding by the rule of law and aligning with public values, and seek to operationalise public values into policy and technical solutions..
Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies (Geneva), PAX, Thales Nederland, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS), TNO
Blockchain in the network society: in search of transparency, trust and legitimacy - Dr. J. Goossens, Tilburg University (Main applicant)
The government is developing blockchain applications together with companies to improve its services. This might lead to complexity and uncertainty about government responsibilities or the optimal design of rules. The project investigates how blockchain can be designed in a transparent and legitimate way, so that citizens can trust the government.
Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), Berenschot B.V., Blockchain Projects Dutch Government (blockchainprojects.nl), Central Judicial Collection Agency (CJIB), CMS Derks Star Busmann N.V., Dutch Blockchain Coalition (DBC), Ledger Leopard B.V., Municipality of Tilburg, Platform voor de InformatieSamenleving (ECP), Privacy First, Smals, Vereniging Juridische Kwaliteitszorg lokaal bestuur (VJK)
Citizenship and standard-setting in digital networks – Dr. S. Milan, University of Amsterdam (Main applicant)
Citizenship and social life are increasingly mediated via digital infrastructure. Yet the standards governing it are invisible to consumers and seemingly detached from societal concerns. Leveraging computer science, law and media studies, this project unlocks the black box of technical standard-making, co-designing “rights- and value-respecting by design” standards and methodologies.
Big Brother wants your vote: how critical micro-targeting influences Dutch democracy - Prof. N. Helberger, University of Amsterdam (Main applicant)
Political parties send citizens tailored, microtargeted messages, hoping to get more votes. This approach comes with potential upsides (more political engagement) and potential downsides (deceit of citizens). This project studies the chances and threats of microtargeting to society and how to limit these threats and embrace the chances.
AlgorithmWatch, DATACTIVE Ideas Lab, ProDemos, WhoTargetsMe
Data and disaster management - Prof. J. Zevenbergen, University of Twente (Main applicant)
Digital data collected to predict and respond to disasters, using satellite and drone images and Artificial Intelligence algorithms, risk infringing upon public values, such as privacy. Technological and regulatory solutions are sought to be embedded in humanitarian action and the curriculum of the regional drone academy.
About the programme
The programme “Responsible innovation. Designing for public values in a digital world” forms a unique collaboration between NWO, The Hague City Council and the Dutch ministries of Interior & Kingdom Relations, Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Justice & Security. The programme focuses on the interaction between public values and digital technology. The key question is how public values can be safeguarded in digital projects. The agenda consists of four themes:
- New digital technology in the modern rule of law
- Privacy and human rights in new digital networks
- Big Data science for a democratic public space
- Complexity as a consequence of hyper-connectivity for public and private actors
The aim of the programme is to generate scientific innovative knowledge and insights to strengthen the policy of the initiating partners.
Responsible Innovation programme
The call “Responsible innovation. Designing for public values in a digital world” is part of the NWO Responsible Innovation programme (NWO-MVI)" and follows the NWO-MVI approach (see https://www.nwo.nl/en/research-and-results/programmes/responsible+innovation, www.nwo-mvi.nl and the call). It consists of three pillars, namely: 1. Interdisciplinary collaboration, 2. proactive production or design perspective and 3. societal relevance and valorisation. Each project has its own valorisation panel so that relevant stakeholders are involved in the elaboration of the research project.
Platform for Responsible Innovation
The knowledge developed and the community built up will be consolidated and further developed in a Platform for Responsible Innovation. The web portal of the platform includes all projects, researchers and partners involved from the programme.