A multidisciplinary research and education program on human autonomy perspective of AI by leading Dutch institutes

There is a strong consensus among scientists, industry and governmental bodies that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has a pervasive and profound impact on society. One particular area of AI that will considerably change the way people organise and experience their lives is the advancement of artificial autonomous systems. These “smart” systems can learn to understand, predict, and respond to our internal states (thoughts, feelings, and goals) and, in real-time, recommend or even take actions to foster health and well-being, especially within the emerging technological landscape of the Internet of things (IoT). Accordingly, people are increasingly confronted with a reduced sense of autonomy as a result of being monitored and guided in their actions by complex and autonomous technologies they do not understand or control.

Utrecht University, Eindhoven University of Technology and the University Medical Center Utrecht have initiated the alliance programme “HUMAN autonomy perspective of Artificial Intelligence” (HUMAN-AI) that aims to harness technological advances to enhance rather than threaten human autonomy while enabling human performance and interaction with physical and social environments.

A human perspective on AI

Researchers of the alliance programme want to contribute to empowering people to achieve their aspirations by developing models and methods that can predict and evaluate how people respond to changing interactions with artificial autonomous systems and that can guide the design of AI to be transparent, intelligible, and safeguard people’s autonomy. The programme makes it possible to combine specialised expertise in engineering and design in technology with high-class expertise in different fields, such as social, educational and computing sciences, healthcare and ethics. The programme includes internationally recognized researchers who are known in their respective fields for their work on human behaviour and AI (see who we are).

Strategic themes, focus areas and research areas

The participating researchers are embedded in interdisciplinary programmes, such as the Utrecht strategic themes ‘Institutions for Open Societies external link’ and ‘Dynamics of Youth external link’, the Utrecht focus area ‘Human-centered Artificial Intelligence‘, and the Eindhoven research areas ‘Artificial Intelligence external link’ and ‘Humans and Technology external link’.