RRI readings

Artificial Intelligence for a Better Future: An ecosystem perspective on the ethics of AI and emerging digital technologies 

How can the economic and social benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) be strengthened while its ethical and human rights risks are addressed? This is a question that drives the current policy debate. Drawing on the work of the EU project SHERPA, the book proposes that by using the theoretical lens of innovation ecosystems, we can make sense of empirical observations of the role of AI in organizations and society. This perspective furthermore allows to draw practical and policy conclusions that can guide action to ensure that AI contributes to human flourishing. 

The author is Professor Bernd Stahl, coordinator of the SHERPA project and Director of the Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility from De Monfort University. 

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Assessment of responsible innovation: Methods and practice 

Responsible innovation encourages innovators to work together with stakeholders during the research and innovation process, to better align the outcomes of innovation with the values, needs, and expectations of society. Assessing the benefits and costs of responsible innovation is crucial for furthering the responsible conduct of science, technology, and innovation. However, until now there has only been limited academic work on responsible innovation assessment. This book fills this lacuna. 

The book brings together leading scholars in the field to present the most comprehensive review of responsible innovation tools. It articulates the importance of assessment and value creation, the different metrics and monitoring systems that can be deployed, and the reporting mechanisms, including the importance of effective communication. 

Emad Yaghmaei is a Senior Researcher at the Faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management at the Delft University of Technology. He is one of the partners of the TetRRIs project.   

Ibo van de Poel is Anthoni van Leeuwenhoek is a Professor in Ethics and Technology and Head of the Department of Values, Technology, and Innovation at the Delft University of Technology. 

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Co-designing Digital Interventions and Technology Projects with Civil Society? 

The focus of this paper is the role of civil society in developing contact tracing apps in collaboration with the private and public sectors. The paper is a step towards thinking analytically, and therefore intentionally, about co-design as the practice continues to be explored. While care has been taken not to overgeneralize, the findings of the report suggest that the ability of civil society to influence the development and impact of COVID-19 tech tools was made possible by access to resources, long-standing relationships with the private sector or government, and the capacity to be seen as a trusted expert. 

Co-designing crisis-oriented tech interventions offer designers direct access to workable knowledge, equitable practice, and the reduction of unintended but harmful consequences related to technological implementation within a given context. The paper also suggests that, while co-design is no panacea, it is a practice that emphasizes how core values such as trust and empowerment can serve as a common language for meaningful collaboration.  

The paper is coauthored by Urvashi Aneja, Co-Founder and Director, Tandem Research, India and Mark Latonero, Technology and Huma Human Rights Adviser, USA. 

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Give citizens a seat on the table 

There are several initiatives that can be implemented in Italy to reinforce citizens’ participation in science and innovation policies. The authors of this article propose specific actions for an equitable energy transition; acceptable impacts of key technologies such AI or genome editing based on international examples. Lombardia established the Regional Forum on Research and Innovation whose President is Mario Calderini, one of the authors of the article and coordinated by Fondazione Giannino Bassetti. This forum produced recommendations to emergency measures for COVID-19 responses.  

The authors envisage an accentuated role of social enterprises to facilitate participation and bring impact to research and innovation policies. They indicated that this entity has not been involved in research and innovation, “but they could be intermediaries to tackle social and environmental challenges through economically sustainable solutions”. 

The article is co-authored by Angela Simone of the Giannino Bassetti Foundation, Milan, Italy – Coordinator of the EU H2020 TRANSFORM project and Mario Calderini Full professor in social innovation, Politecnico di Milano and President, Lombardia Regional Forum on Research and Innovation. 

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