The European Union-funded SHERPA project, led by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), has been established to enhance the responsible development of AI and examine the impact of smart information systems (SIS) on ethics and human rights. Researchers have come up with five scenarios incorporating technologies that may be readily available in 2025, including driverless cars, information warfare, predictive policing, learning buddy robots for education and applications that mimic people.
Members of the public are being invited to review the scenarios and provide feedback about the potential ethical, legal, social and economic implications of each one. SHERPA will then produce a set of recommendations for policymakers to ensure a responsible future of AI development. Professor Bernd Stahl, director of the Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility at DMU and project coordinator for SHERPA, said “Our aim is to understand and address the existing and future challenges in AI so that we can advocate the most sustainable solutions that benefit both innovators and society. We want to know what measures policymakers should be adopting to make sure we can deliver a desirable future.”
The SHERPA project has received €2.8m of funding from the EU and DMU is working with partners from Universiteit Twente (Netherlands), the European Network of Research Ethics Committees (Germany), University of Central Lancashire (Cyprus), Depoorter Dries (Belgium), Trilateral Research (UK), Stichting Nederlands Normalisatie (Netherlands), Mutual Shoots Ltd (UK), Aequitas Ltd (Cyprus), European Business Summit (Belgium) and F-Secure OYJ (Finland).
To develop the scenarios, SHERPA researchers hosted a series of workshops with stakeholders from academia, industry, civil society organisations and the media, who discussed what the future might realistically hold for SIS and AI. “We worked with key stakeholders to check our assumptions about future social conditions that could drive the use of AI. Now we want to assess the impact our society might face as a result,” Professor Stahl explained. He added: “Anyone can comment on the scenarios – it’s important for the public to tell us how they want the future of AI to look.” To find out more about SHERPA or to view and comment on the five scenarios, visit www.project-sherpa.eu/scenarios. The deadline for providing feedback is Friday 31 August.