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.
Winner of the 2019 Geijer Prize Named
14 januari 2020
The Geijer Prize for history 2019 has been awarded to Mia Kuritzen Löwengart for her doctoral thesis A Matter of Social Urgency: The emergence of a symphony orchestra and concert house in Stockholm, ca. 1890-1926 and Hedvig Widmalm for her doctora...
Legendary runestone bears witness to climate anxiety 1,200 years ago
08 januari 2020
After more than 1,000 years, one of the greatest mysteries of the early Viking Age, the Rök runestone which bears the world’s longest runic inscription, appears to have been solved. According to four Swedish researchers, the puzzling inscription h...
Martin Henriksson Holmdahl Prize goes to Afaf Doleeb and Patricia Lorenzoni
21 november 2019
The Martin Henriksson Holmdahl Prize is Uppsala University’s foremost award for contributions to the promotion of human rights and liberty. This year’s prize is shared by graduate student Afaf Doleeb and researcher Patricia Lorenzoni for their com...
Large-scale cadastral maps on parchment digitised
08 november 2019
Uppsala University Archives holds a large collection of hand-drawn seventeenth century maps on parchment. These maps are of significant historical value and a valuable source of information on the University’s agricultural properties at the time.
New Honorary Doctors Appointed at Uppsala University
21 oktober 2019
The nine faculties at Uppsala University have decided on who they wish to appoint as honorary doctors this academic year. The new honorary doctors include researchers in fields as diverse as string theory, maternal healthcare, evolutionary biology...
Excavation documentation from Labraunda digitised
21 oktober 2019
Uppsala University Library's part of the project Mötesplats Medelhavet ("Labraunda") - a research platform for digitised archaeological collections and archives at the Swedish institutes in Athens, Rome and Istanbul, is now being started. The aim ...
Aristocratic family trees became scientific model
01 oktober 2019
Before the French Revolution, family trees were reserved for the feudal upper classes, who used them to consolidate their social status. While feudalism broke down and family trees lost their old roles, the trees gained new functions as scientific...
Uppsala philosopher elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
19 september 2019
Folke Tersman, professor of practical philosophy at Uppsala University, has been elected as a member of the class for humanities and for outstanding services to science at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Johan Ihre’s dissertations now in digital form.
06 september 2019
Johan Ihre (1707-1780) was professor of Rethoric and Politics at Uppsala University for 42 years. During this time he managed no less than 453 dissertations, the theses of the time. These dissertations are currently a widely used source material i...
Sustainable urbanisation requires collaboration
10 juni 2019
On Sunday, 30 June, six seminars on sustainability and urbanisation focusing on India and Sweden will take place in Almedalen. To find out more, we talked to Swaminathan Ramanathan, visiting research fellow, and Owe Ronström, professor of ethnolog...
Races for women play an important role
06 maj 2019
Participating in a race for women plays an important role for women and increases self-confidence among participants. Women aim to perform as well as they can, and they place most emphasis on their physical performance, despite the organisers’ oft...
Award for research and teaching on the Holocaust
11 april 2019
Tomislav Dulić, Senior Lecturer in History and Director of the Hugo Valentin Centre, has been awarded the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Award 2019.
Diplomatic wives’ political clout often overlooked
07 mars 2019
Many 20th-century accounts of international relations and diplomacy often leave out the role of women. Diplomats’ wives were not officially employed, but diplomacy was frequently based on couples working together.
Ola Larsmo awarded Martin Henriksson Holmdahl Prize
16 november 2018
The Martin Henriksson Holmdahl Prize is Uppsala University’s foremost award for efforts to promote human rights and liberty. This year’s prize is awarded to author and honorary doctor Ola Larsmo.
New light cast on Scandinavia’s most important Bronze Age site
09 oktober 2018
Håga, Scandinavia's most significant Bronze Age site, is relatively unknown. But in a new book, archaeologists at Uppsala University have brought together what is known and placed Håga in a larger context.
New study shows virus traces in historical skeletal material
06 september 2018
A new international study shows the importance of studying historical skeletal material to increase knowledge about how viruses develop.
Large-scale whaling in north Scandinavia may date back to 6th century
13 juni 2018
The intensive whaling that has pushed many species to the brink of extinction today may be several centuries older than previously assumed. This view is held by archaeologists from Uppsala and York whose findings are presented in the European Jour...
Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson to receive King’s Medal
08 juni 2018
H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf has decided to award Uppsala University’s Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson and Johan Svedjedal, Professor of Literature, H.M. The King’s Medal.
This year’s Distinguished Teaching Award winners chosen
04 juni 2018
The 2018 Distinguished Teaching Award winners at Uppsala University teach subjects related to art history, informatics and media, pharmaceutical biosciences and information technology. The free Distinguished Teaching Award was presented to Senior ...
Human diversity as a research area
29 maj 2018
Human diversity abounds in language, culture and biology. An understanding of this diversity is central to a lot of research, but it is important to address the ethical issues raised by this research. The Human Diversity Research Network takes an ...