Discussion series about Generative AI ‘The impact we generate’

March 21, April 18 & May 30 2023 at 16:00

In recent months, increased media attention has been given to AI-driven applications like Stable Diffusion, Dall-E, GPT-3, ChatGPT and Bard. These programmes are commonly referred to as Generative AI: technologies that learn from existing data in order to produce new content, including audio, (realistic) images and art, chat, text and code. Though these technological innovations have sparked renewed enthusiasm and interest for the field of AI, their potential to disrupt and transform has also been met with concern.

In an effort to demystify the use of Generative AI, the AI, Media and Democracy Lab is organising a series of events that will explore and discuss the pitfalls and possibilities of the technology’s transformative impact on the media and journalism industries: How can the sector reap the benefits of artificially created content in line with the industries’ values, such as personal creativity, autonomy, user agency, transparency, objectivity, diversity, trust and authenticity?

Discussion #3 | Disinformation and Generative AI

Date and time: Tuesday 30 May, 16.00-17.30
Location: Online

News media and journalism perform a key democratic function: they act as a public watchdog and offer citizens a platform to impart, seek and receive information and engage in public and political dialogue. Does the integration of Generative AI in the media value chain affect the various societal functions news media and journalists perform? And could this alter social dynamics present in society, including how people and groups of people participate, engage and interact with one another? 

In this final session, we explore one specific democratic threat, which is the (purposeful) use of generative technologies risk to intensify the manufacturing and dissemination of mis- and disinformation. In late March, faked arrest pictures of Donald Trump became a viral sensation. Though these images were quickly identified as having been produced by Generative AI, they also showcased these technologies’ negative potential: not only were these images life-like, but they also tapped into feelings of civil unrest regarding the state of democracy and modern-day politics. As we enter the generative information age, these images serve as a warning call. Through a process of deconstruction, this session investigates how generative technologies operate and how their deployment might challenge media and journalism industries in their ability to scrutinise the truthfulness of news content.


Sophie Morosoli

Sophie Morosoli is a postdoctoral researcher at the AI, Media and Democracy Lab. Her research focus within the lab revolves around studying the impacts and applications of AI from the user perspective. Previously, Sophie pursued her doctoral studies at the University of Antwerp, where she was affiliated with the research group Media, Movements and Politics (M²P). Her doctoral dissertation delved into both the invididual motivations behind spreading of disinformation, and the effect this phenomenon has on a larger scale.


Pascal Wiggers

Pascal Wiggers is Associate Lector Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the Amsterdam University of Applied Science (AUAS). He leads the Responsible Artificial Intelligence Lab, which is dedicated to conducting practice-based research on the effects of AI on individuals, society, and ethics. The team focuses on the design and development of responsible AI systems that align with public values and contextual considerations. They actively engage in constructing and, at times, deconstructing AI technologies to gain a deeper understanding of their implications. By doing so, they aim to develop responsible alternatives that address the shortcomings of existing AI technology. Pascal obtained his PhD at TU Delft in 2008 with the thesis “Modelling Context in Automatic Speech Recognition”.

Giovanni Zagni

Giovanni Zagni, PhD, is the Director of the Italian fact-checking projects Pagella Politica and He is a member of the Executive board of the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO). EDMO brings together fact-checkers, media literacy experts, and academic researchers to understand and analyse disinformation, in collaboration with media organisations, online platforms and media literacy practitioners. He is also on the executive board of the MSI-INF Committee of Experts on the Integrity of Online Information, established in 2022 by the Council of Europe.He served as a member of the Monitoring Unit on Disinformation around Covid-19 established by the Italian government in 2020.

Jeroen de Vos

Jeroen de Vos (MA) is an internet and market researcher specialized in both online and offline research. He has a background in media studies & cultural anthropology and is currently working on socially driven projects both inside and outside education. He combines online internet research with offline qualitative interviews to map social discussions. Jeroen is a researcher at the Lectorate Creative Media for Social Change of the Amsterdam University of Applied Science (AUAS), where he is part of a project that researches and develops a new form of media literacy to counter disinformation.

Previous sessions

Discussion #2 | News Media and Generative AI

Date and time: Tuesday 18 April, 16.00-17.30
Location: Online

For our second session, we will explore the practical challenges of Generative AI for news media. How does the integration of Generative AI benefit and challenge the various phases of news reporting, including news gathering, production, distribution and interaction? Will the technology drastically alter the process as well as the product of news media and journalism, and if so, which technological characteristics play a central role as part of this transformation? The media landscape is not unfamiliar with digital change and disruption. The arrival of the Internet, the growth and popularity of crowd-sourcing websites and social media platforms and the emergence of data analytics have equally challenged the way news is provided and consumed. Even more so, the concerns news media face today (e.g., the need to verify the reliability of AI-generated information and the creative relationship between journalists and AI) sound awfully familiar to those experienced previously. Even in the case the issues raised by generative AI are truly distinctive (are they?), the industry may nonetheless draw from the lessons it has learned from the past.

The AI, Media and Democracy Lab aims to bring together different legal and societal perspectives, including from research and practice. The format is interactive with short pitches and plenty of room for questions and interaction. The event will be organised online.


Nick Diakopoulos

Nicholas Diakopoulos is an Associate Professor in Communication Studies and Computer Science (by courtesy) at Northwestern University where he is Director of the Computational Journalism Lab (CJL) and Director of Graduate Studies for the Technology and Social Behavior (TSB) PhD program. He is also an Associate Professor II at the University of Bergen Department of Information Science and Media Studies and is on sabbatical as a visiting researcher at the University of Amsterdam IVIR during the 2022-23 academic year.


Aimee Rinehart

Aimee Rinehart is the program manager for the Associated Press (AP) Local News AI initiative, which aims to narrow the growing technology gap between national and local newsrooms. The program will distribute a national “scorecard” to assess AI readiness, provide free online courses to address knowledge gaps, and consult with newsrooms to integrate AI across their operations.

Hannes Cools

Hannes Cools is a post-doctoral researcher both at the AI, Media, and Democracy Lab and at the Digital Democracy Center. He holds a doctoral degree on AI and news from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Leuven and a MA degree in International Politics of the University of Ghent in Belgium. His research interests include AI, computational journalism, and news recommender systems.

David Caswell

David is a former Executive Product Manager of News Labs. He previously managed data products at the Los Angeles Times Media group, and was Director of Product Management for content understanding at Yahoo!. He has also researched structured and automated journalism as an RJI Fellow at the Missouri School of Journalism, and has developed structured knowledge systems for intelligence applications. He is particularly interested in exploring sustainable models for news in the digital communications environment.

Mathias Felipe de Lima Santos

Mathias-Felipe de-Lima-Santos is a postdoctoral researcher in the RPA Human(e) AI at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Previously, he was a researcher at the University of Navarra, Spain, under the JOLT project, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020. He was also a Visiting Researcher at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia. Mathias-Felipe is co-editor of the book “Journalism, Data and Technology in Latin America” published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2021. His research interests include the changing nature of communications driven by technological innovations, particularly in journalism, media, and online social networks. 

Discussion #1 | Legal Aspects of Generative AI

Date and time: Tuesday 21 March, 16.00-17.30
Location: Institute for Information Law (IViR) or online

In this first panel discussion, we will dive into legal and governance aspects regarding the technology’s proliferation, and its impact on media industries. Drawing from a variety of legal fields, we will attempt to formulate answers to pressing industry, social and public policy questions, including: How to protect the rights and interests of creators and should AI-generated content be protected (intellectual property)? How to ensure fair access, competition and choice in the market for Generative AI (competition law)? Is it okay to train large language models on personal information collected from publicly accessible (online) resources or during user-interaction (privacy and data protection law)? How to address the presence of bias and prejudice in AI-produced content (equality and non-discrimination law)? When is Generative AI high risk and subject to more stringent regulation (AI law)?  At the same time, the question must be raised: are these technologies all that revolutionary, or do they present familiar questions and dilemmas in renewed ways? Through an open dialogue, this discussion hopes to further practical and academic debate regarding the responsible deployment of Generative AI in media and journalism and help establish a legal research agenda for doing so.

The AI, Media and Democracy Lab aims to bring together different legal and societal perspectives, including from research and practice. The format is interactive with short pitches and plenty of room for questions and interaction. The event will be organised in a hybrid format. Physical attendance is limited to 20 participants, and will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis.


Ot van Daalen

Ot van Daalen is a researcher and lecturer in the field of privacy and security at the Institute for Information Law. He is also an attorney at Root Legal. Previously, he worked at the Dutch Data Protection Authority and founded the Dutch digital rights movement Bits of Freedom.

Viktorija Morozovaite

Viktorija Morozovaite is a PhD candidate at Utrecht University, School of Law, member of the Renforce research group and Governing the Digital Societies Focus Area. Her research focuses on examining user-influencing practices, such as hypernudging, from the perspective of European competition law and EU’s emergent digital policy on regulating digital markets. Her research is part of the fulfilment of Modern Bigness ERC project, under leadership of Anna Gerbrandy. Viktorija is a former Wirtschaftskammer Steiermark Fellow at the University of Graz and a former visiting scholar at the Annernberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania.

Natali Helberger

Natali Helberger, KNAW member, is Distinguished University Professor of Law and Digital Technology with a special focus on AI at the University of Amsterdam and a member of the board of directors of the Institute for Information Law (IViR). She co-founded two Research Priority Areas at the UvA: Information, Communication, and the Data Society and Human(e) AI – university-wide research programs and hubs for researchers from the social sciences, humanities, and computer science to advance a societal perspective on AI. In 2021, Natali co-founded the AI, Media & Democracy Lab.

Martin Senftleben

Martin Senftleben is Professor of Intellectual Property Law and Director of the Institute for Information Law (IViR) at the Amsterdam Law School. His activities focus on the reconciliation of private intellectual property rights with competing public interests of a social, cultural or economic nature. Current research topics include institutionalized algorithmic copyright enforcement in the EU, the interplay between robot creativity and human literary and artistic productions, the preservation of the public domain of cultural expressions, and the impact of targeted advertising on supply and demand in market economies.

Naomi Appelman

Naomi Appelman is a PhD researcher at the Institute for Information Law (IViR) interested in the role of law in online exclusion, speech governance, and platform power. Her interdisciplinary research combines information law, specifically, online speech and platform regulation with (agonistic) political philosophy. More concretely, her research asks how European law should facilitate contestation of the content moderation systems governing online speech. The aim of facilitating this contestation is to minimise undue exclusion, often of already marginalised groups, from online spaces and democratise the power over how online speech is governed. Her PhD is part of the Digital Transformation of Decision-making project and the Digital Legal Studies sectorplan. She was a visiting researcher at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. Connected to her PhD research she has co-authored several reports and papers on the topic of online speech regulation and automated decision-making. Finally, Naomi has previously done volunteer work at the Dutch digital rights NGO Bits of Freedom and is one of the founders of the Racism and Technology Center.

Philipp Hacker

Prof. Dr. Philipp Hacker, LL.M. (Yale), holds the Chair for Law and Ethics of the Digital Society at the European New School of Digital Studies (ENS) at European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder). In 2021, he was a Research Fellow at Weizenbaum Institute Berlin. Prior to joining ENS, he served as an AXA Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Law of Humboldt University of Berlin; a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute, and an A.SK Fellow at WZB Berlin Social Science Center. His research focuses on the intersection of law and technology. In particular, he analyzes the impact of AI and the IoT on consumer, privacy, anti-discrimination, and general regulatory law. He often cooperates with computer scientists and mathematicians, especially on questions of explainable AI and algorithmic fairness.