The AI, Media and Democracy Lab is part of the ELSA initiative funded and supported by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO). As part of the NWO’s ‘Human-Centred AI for an Inclusive Society – Towards an Ecosystem of Trust’ program, the ELSA Labs focus on Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects of AI. They play an important role in the development and application of human-centric AI technology, each from a unique perspective.
The AI, Media and Democracy Lab makes up Category 3 of the project, focussing on Economy, Local Government, Culture and Media. The research conducted addresses the technological and economic issues that we are faced with as a society, and aims to support the development of technological innovations that safeguard public values and constitutional and human rights.
A key goal of the lab is to set up an environment in which researchers can experiment with current and possible future AI applications in the media, and create a space in which journalists, media professionals, designers, citizens, researchers and public and societal partners can ask questions and contribute their perspectives. The AI, Media and Democracy lab is a multi-method and multi-approach research hub that brings together researchers with various academic backgrounds and extensive expertise in different methodologies. These disciplines include Law, Social Sciences, Journalism, Computer Science, Philosophy, and Media Studies, allowing for constant interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration. The Lab also intends to stimulate innovative AI applications that strengthen the democratic function of the media, which is supported by its collaboration with partners such as national and international media organizations, and legal, societal, and academic institutions.
Research Questions and Objectives
The objective of the research proposed by the AI, Media and Democracy Lab is to gain insight into:
- The impact of current and future use of AI tools and applications on (news) media’s ability to fulfil its democratic role and the relation between media and the public
- How alternative tools that are public-value-driven, human-centred and ethical can be developed in such a way that a competitive edge can be gained
- A new ethical and legal framework for the responsible use of AI in media environments that aligns with fundamental rights, public values and the European regulatory framework
Ethical, Legal, and Societal Aspects are addressed in the ELSA framework and assessment, which brings together critical research on democratic theories of the media, fundamental rights theory and critical legal analysis of the emerging regulatory framework for AI. Furthermore, an ELSA sandbox is created to identify ethical, legal, and societal challenges of AI use in media ecosystems and the co-creation of human-centred solutions. Lastly, the ELSA framework is applied to monitor the impact of the introduction of co-developed AI-driven solutions in companies.