Grants for research on the impact of AI on people and society
15 December 2020
In a major 10-year national research programme, two Wallenberg Foundations are supporting research on the impact of the ongoing technology shift, involving digitalisation and artificial intelligence, on our society and our behaviour. Two of the grants in this year’s grant round have been awarded to research at Uppsala University for research on AI and cultural heritage collections and AI and financial markets.
The ongoing technology shift, involving digitalisation, automation and artificial intelligence, will bring great opportunities and changes for society as a whole and individual people. Against this background, the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation and the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation last year initiated the national research programme WASP-HS (The Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Programme – Humanities and Society). The purpose is to learn more about the opportunities and challenges presented by artificial intelligence and autonomous systems in the humanities och social sciences. The Foundations are investing a total of SEK 660 million over ten years in WASP-HS. The primary focus is on analysing the impact of the ongoing technology shift in society on ethical, economic, labour market, social and legal circumstances.
“The ongoing technology shift is not just about technology, algorithms, and data power, but it will affect us all and society as a whole. It is therefore important that the humanities and social science aspects are also explored,” says Peter Wallenberg Jr, Chair of the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.
In this year’s grant round, ten projects in social sciences have been awarded grants by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation and two projects in the humanities grants by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation, totalling nearly SEK 70 million. Together with last year’s 16 projects, the WASP-HS programme now includes 28 research projects.
Two grants to Uppsala University
Two of this year’s twelve grants in WASP-HS go to researchers at Uppsala University – one in the humanities for research on AI and cultural heritage collections and one in the social sciences for research on AI and financial markets.
Anna Foka, Department of ALM (Archives, Libraries and Museums) has been granted SEK 4.9 million by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation for the four-year project “Quantifying Culture: A Study of AI and Cultural Heritage Collections”.
About the project:
Making cultural heritage more accessible and easier to understand, for future researchers and visitors as well as today’s, is a challenge. This project seeks to develop a digitalised model that, through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), enables scanning and automatic interpretation and classification of objects. The research is being conducted in collaboration with the Swedish National Heritage Board, the National Museums of World Culture, the National Archives of Sweden and Uppsala University Museum (Gustavianum).
The project group will investigate both how AI is currently applied and what its future potential might be for digital cultural heritage collections. The project aims to show how critical perspectives can be used for Swedish cultural heritage collections, in a context where AI is used to label archival material. The technology is reminiscent of that used for computer facial recognition or automatic online translation, for example.
The research group are aiming to establish mathematical models and algorithms to make the machines more advanced, so that they can pick out significant and more relevant information. The objective is to devise a machine that can be taught to identify people and cultural contexts in a range of cultural communities, or different parts of the world, with varying expectations and attitudes.
Innovative methods are bringing the humanities, social sciences and AI research together to explore how AI tackles qualitative aspects of the material. In this exploration, critical and ethical theories intersect with algorithms and mathematics.
Magnus Strand, Department of Business Studies, has been granted SEK 6 million by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation for the three-year project “AI and the Financial Markets: Accountability and Risk Management with Legal Tools”.
About the project:
In the financial markets, advanced artificial intelligence (AI) is used, for example, in algorithmic trading in financial instruments, and in credit assessment to see whether someone is eligible for a loan. AI has many advantages, such as superior efficiency and lower costs. But letting advanced algorithms manage financial decisions also entails risks.
Today, there is immense uncertainty about who is legally accountable for decisions taken by an AI and their implications for human beings and companies. Existing rules are extremely diverse in nature, and have varying purposes. What is more, legislation that keeps up with technological development is essentially unattainable. Players involved in the financial markets therefore need to act on their own. Their aim is to proactively manage their own accountability and the risks associated with AI.
In the project, the researchers will study, above all, how the players seek to distribute risks and accountabilities through their own assorted agreements and contracts – with AI programmers, customers, insurance companies and so forth. In addition, the researchers will study the overall ‘infrastructure of accountability’ laid down in the legislation, one reason being to see which gaps most urgently need to be closed.
WASP-HS (Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Programme – Humanities and Society) includes a national graduate school with up to 70 doctoral students, the creation of at least ten new research groups across Sweden, support for twelve visiting professors to strengthen Swedish research and networking activities, and a number of research projects.
The Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation and the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation will invest a total of SEK 660 million during the period 2019–2028.
WASP-HS is an independent and parallel programme to WASP (the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Programme), which aims to put Sweden at the international forefront in the areas of software, autonomous systems and AI.
About the Wallenberg Foundations
The Wallenberg Foundations are the collective name for the 17 public and private Foundations formed by the Wallenberg family or established in memory of family members.
The Foundations grant funding to excellent researchers and research projects as well as education with a national benefit focus and have since 1917 made grants totalling more than SEK 35 billion, of which almost eleven billion over the past five years.
The largest Foundation is the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, with a focus on science, technology and medicine. The two next largest Foundations are the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, with a focus on the social sciences, and the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation, with a focus on the humanities.
Campus Gotland students unearth Iron Age warrior
10 september 2021
Uppsala University archaeology students’ summer excavations on the island of Gotland turned up an exciting surprise: they found a warrior, with sword and spurs, in an Iron Age grave in Buttle Änge. Now the skeleton and grave goods will be analysed...
How Linnaean learning spread far and wide
07 juni 2021
An inspiring middle-school teacher sparked Linda Andersson Burnett’s interest in history. Now a researcher in the history of science and ideas at Uppsala University, she is currently studying Carl Linnaeus and his influence, which extends far beyo...
Elly Griffiths is giving this year’s Adam Helms Lecture
03 juni 2021
Each year, Uppsala University and the Swedish Publishers’ Association arrange a lecture in memory of the publisher Adam Helms. This year’s lecture will be given by the internationally renown British crime novelist Elly Griffiths on 16 September 20...
New thesis: Finery for fashionable ladies
11 maj 2021
When the first descriptions of knitting and crochet were published in Swedish, in the mid-19th century, such handiwork was described as the finest of all feminine handicrafts, for the benefit and pleasure alike of the trend-conscious, diligent mid...
Linnaeus’ complicated relationship with racism
07 maj 2021
Since June 2020, Carl Linnaeus has been a subject of debate in Sweden and around the world. What sparked it off were the actions of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Statues of slave owners have been lambasted or destroyed. In Sweden, the dis...
Conspiracy theories characterise views in and about Europe
03 maj 2021
Conspiratorial narratives of internal disintegration and external threats affect views in the European Union and Europe to an increasing extent. Our trust in society is put to the test in crises such as COVID-19 when various groups are singled out...
Nordic conspiracy theories through the ages
01 mars 2021
Conspiracy theories are becoming more common in the world, and the Nordic countries are no exception. Are some conspiracy theories unique to the Nordic countries? What typical narratives are disseminated? And when did this really start? A new book...
The plague year of 1710 was also a difficult year
24 februari 2021
As historians, it is our job to take a step back and give perspective to our current situation. For anyone looking back, it isn’t hard to find other difficult years. In Sweden’s past, 1710 was undoubtedly one such year, writes Jonas Lindström, res...
Sustainable development the focus of new graduate school at Campus Gotland
21 januari 2021
On 18 January, Uppsala University’s new multidisciplinary graduate school opened at Campus Gotland. Its focus is on sustainable development. This involves research on key societal challenges within changing energy systems, sustainable consumption,...
Archives crucial for Freemasons’ identity
22 december 2020
The Order of Freemasons’ meticulous archives are fundamental to their identity. The unique structure of the masonic archives reinforces the secrecy and mystique of the self-image that has been fashioned by the Order — and characterises it in the e...
Grants for research on the impact of AI on people and society
15 december 2020
In a major 10-year national research programme, two Wallenberg Foundations are supporting research on the impact of the ongoing technology shift, involving digitalisation and artificial intelligence, on our society and our behaviour. Two of the gr...
Linnaeus and Rudbeck medallists chosen
10 december 2020
This year the Rudbeck Medal is awarded to Professors Olle Eriksson, Inger Sundström Poromaa and Maria Ågren, while the Linnaeus Medal is awarded to Professor Kerstin Lindblad Toh and Chairman Dai-Won Yoon at Hallym University in South Korea.
Turkic cultural heritage in Uppsala
07 december 2020
Uppsala University has a rich collection of manuscripts, printed material, art objects and maps related to the Ottoman Empire and other Turkic cultures. How did they come to Uppsala? This story is told in a new book “Turcologica Upsaliensia. An Il...
Fallen in battle, these Swedish Vikings are part of a larger genetic puzzle
17 september 2020
In a recently published article in the journal Nature, 90 researchers from various countries have collaborated to develop new knowledge about the Viking-era population. Marie Allen, professor of forensic genetics at Uppsala University, has contrib...
The VR game that takes you to medieval Visby
14 augusti 2020
Using a VR helmet, you can try your hand at archery in 14th century Visby. This new VR game has been developed by the game company Disir, which was founded by a game developer and three archaeologists, of which two research at Uppsala University.
“The American dilemma is far from resolved”
15 juni 2020
The police violence in Minneapolis that resulted in the death of George Floyd has once again thrust relations between black and white Americans onto the agenda, a dilemma that will most likely play a central role in this autumn’s presidential elec...
Social graces and etiquette vital for Carl Linnaeus
04 juni 2020
What would have become of Carl Linnaeus if he had remained single? Would science have missed out on one of its major lodestars without his well-functioning household? And was his son, Carl Linnaeus the Younger, really the ne’er-do-well he was repu...
Medieval manuscript fragments acquired
26 maj 2020
A group of fragments of medieval manuscripts has been acquired by Uppsala University Library. Among these there is a fragment related to Saint Bridget of Sweden. This particular fragment may have been written at or owned by the Vadstena Abbey.
She studies AI as existential media
30 april 2020
How are we influenced when smart digital assistants, like Siri and Alexa, become part of our homes? And what happens when we begin to track deviating individuals through biometrics? “More research is needed on what it means to be human in a digita...
New study reveals unknown side of Astrid Lindgren’s creative process
21 februari 2020
Why did Jonathan Lionheart’s pitch-black hair suddenly turn golden? And how did Master Detective Kalle Blomqvist get his proper name? In the “Astrid Lindgren Code”, literature researcher Malin Nauwerck lifts the lid on some of the literary world’s...