AI, Media & Democracy

The AI, Media & Democracy Lab (AIM4DEM) is a collaboration between the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica.

Within this lab the research partners work together at the crossroads of AI, Media & Democracy, attempting to stimulate innovative AI applications that will actually strengthen the democratic function of the media.

The lab officially opened on Wednesday 14 September 2022 in Eye Amsterdam.

Misinformation is just one of many problems we face with the rise of artificial intelligence. Technology is impacting our democracy in an unprecedented way. Democracies around the world are currently coming under pressure from outside and within. At the same time, western media landscapes are becoming ever more polarised. The rise of artificial intelligence is impacting both areas in unprecedented ways, further complicating the picture. These developments are the reason why CWI, UvA and HvA initiated the AIM4DEM Lab.

The lab is a collaboration between the research teams of the UvA’s Human(e) AI and ICDS - Information, Communication and the Data Society (itself a collaboration between the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) and the Institute for Information Law (IViR)), three CWI research groups: Human-Centred Data Analytics, Distributed and Interactive Systems, and Intelligent and Autonomous Systems, and the AUAS research groups Responsible IT, Network Cultures, Civic Interaction Design, Creative Media for Social Change and Visual Methodologies.

ELSA status

The Lab was awarded the ‘ELSA’ (Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects) status by the Dutch AI Coalition. The goal of the ELSA Labs is to ensure that companies, government, knowledge institutions, civil society organizations and citizens jointly develop responsible applications of AI.

Within the lab, researchers will work together with journalists, media professionals, designers, citizens, fellow researchers and public and societal partners, to investigate the impact of AI on the democratic functions of the media. Together with these partners, they will develop and test value-driven, human-centric AI applications, as well as ethical and legal frameworks for the responsible use of AI.

board aim4dem

Partners across Europe

The Lab will be collaborating with partners from around the Netherlands and across Europe, including RTL, NPO, the Dutch Media Authority, the Royal Library of the Netherlands, the BBC and the Bayrischer Rundfunk AI Lab, and many more. It has been awarded a grant of 2.1 million euros as part of the Dutch Research Council’s programme 'Human-centred AI for an inclusive society: Towards an ecosystem of trust'.

Natali Helberger (UvA): “Technology does not just happen to us. It is up to all of us – developers, journalists, editors, artists, academics, regulators and citizens – to shape the technologies that impact our democracy.”

Nanda Piersma, lecturer in Responsible IT and scientific director of the Centre of Expertise Applied AI (AUAS), and CWI researcher: "The application of AI is not trivial and should not be the final step of a research process. This lab will be a place to invent together. We will co-create in a sandbox setting, bringing AI solutions to the field step by step, by discussing, modelling, building, testing, and finally implementing."

Pablo Cesar, group leader of Distributed and Interactive Systems at CWI and professor of Human-Centered Multimedia Systems at TU Delft: "New technologies come with societal and ethical challenges related to information quality and audience interaction. One of our approaches will be to include algorithmic solutions against disinformation and polarisation. We will be looking for human-centric solutions to those challenges and also for increasing citizen participation."