Posted: 16/09/19

The ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology, a world-leading SFI Research Centre, is to lead on a new Horizon 2020 (H2020) project aimed at protecting personal data in amidst big data innovation.  The project, AIDataGov, was launched today at an event in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) which featured a public lecture by a world-renowned researcher in the field, Professor Philip Brey, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Technology at the University of Twente, the Netherlands.  Professor Brey’s lecture was titled “Making Artificial Intelligence that is Trustworthy and Ethical”.

The research focus of AIDataGov will develop new ways of empowering users of digital services to understand the risks they take with their rights and interests when they go online. It will also offer new ways for software developers to incorporate privacy, data protection and broader ethical considerations into the development of digital services.

Speaking about the new H2020 project, coordinator Professor Dave Lewis of the ADAPT Centre at TCD said: “The growing power of modern AI to draw insights and adapt online behaviour on massive streams of personal data is concentrated in the hand of a few large global players. This is a growing source of concern for governments, industry and society in general. Computer Scientists can’t fix these problems alone, so have to pursue new  multidisciplinary approaches to the governance of data and the AI it feeds.”

The project is recruiting an international cohort of 14 early stage researchers who will be doing PhD research in either Law, Ethics or Computer Science, but working together to find new perspectives and solutions on how to govern the use of data by AI in an ethical and privacy preserving manner.

Organisations harvest and utilise personal data on a massive scale, including browser behaviour, social media messages, and data gathered from mobile devices, bio-sensors, cameras, and GPS trackers. Accelerated by big data and machine learning techniques, innovation invariably outpaces public policy debate and the development of new regulations for the protection of personal data. Individuals and vulnerable groups are poorly placed to consider the impact of the use of their personal information. At the same time, smaller tech companies lack the knowledge and expertise needed to address the complex legal and ethical implications of collecting and analysing personal data.

AIDataGov will provide technology developers with the knowledge needed to ensure responsible innovation and equip users of digital services with the knowledge they need to protect their own personal data.

The launch event was organised in collaboration with the Ethics & Privacy Working Group of the ADAPT Centre.   

Share this article: