The Digital Humanism Initiative is an international collaboration seeking to build a community of scholars, policy makers, and industrial players who are focused on ensuring that technology development remain centered on human interests.
|November 9, 2021
5:00 – 6:00 PM
“Artificial Intelligence and Democratic Values: What is the Path Forward?”
Countries and international organizations are moving quickly to adopt AI strategies. More than fifty nations have signed on to the OECD AI Principles of the G20 AI Guidelines. The EU is in the midst of a comprehensive proposal for the regulation and and UNESCO is about to adopt an AI Ethics Recommendation. Many of these policy frameworks share similar objectives – that AI should be “human-centric” and “trustworthy.” That AI systems should ensure fairness, accuracy, and transparency Looming in the background of this policy process is the deployment of AI techniques, such as facial surveillance and social scoring, that implicate human rights and democratic values. Therefore we should ask how effectively do these policy frameworks address these new challenges? What are the differences between a country endorsing a framework and implementing a framework? Will counties be able to enforce actual prohibitions or “red lines” on certain deployments? And how do we assess a country’s national AI strategy with democratic values?
Speaker: Marc Rotenberg (Center for AI and Digital Policy, USA)
Moderator: Paul Timmers (Oxford University, UK | European University, Cyprus)
Perspectives on Digital Humanism
Our book “Perspectives on Digital Humanism” is now available at dighum.ec.tuwien.ac.at/perspectives-on-digital-humanism
Poysdorf Declaration, July 7
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia signed the Poysdorf Declaration on Digital Humanism. We are moving to the political level!
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Seminar Series on Digital Humanism
A roughly bi-weekly seminar offers presentations and panels from worldwide thought leaders. It is typically held on Tuesday afternoons at 17:00 CET.
The Vienna Manifesto on Digital Humanism
The Vienna Manifesto on Digital Humanism is a position statement signed by over 1000 leaders worldwide that lays out the motivation and goals for the Digital Humanism Initiative.
The Corona-Crisis shows that IT keeps the system running. But at the same time IT is changing our society. We are in the midst of the digital transformation, with computer science and its artifacts as a major driver. We experienced the metamorphosis from the stand-alone computer to the global operating system of our world, a journey leading to yet another industrial revolution: digitizing everything and automating work and thinking.
This digital and global operating system integrates, links, and permeates everything: work, leisure, politics, the personal, the professional, and the private. It influences or even shapes actions on a technical, economic, military and political level.
Whereas digitalization is opening unprecedented opportunities, it also raising serious concerns: the monopolization of the Web, the rise of extremism orchestrated by social media, the formation of filter bubbles, the loss of privacy, the spread of digital surveillance, automated decision making, and the potential loss of jobs due to automation. This is also expressed by Tim Berners-Lee (The Guardian, 16 November 2017) with his
“The system is failing”
We are at a crossroads for our future, and the issue is which direction to take, or in positive terms, how to put the human at the center and how to combine technological with social innovation in a democratic process.
This is the context of our Digital Humanism initiative. We argue for a Digital Humanism that analyzes, and, most importantly, influences the complex interplay of technology and humankind, for a better society and life, fully respecting universal human rights. We must shape technologies in accordance with human values and needs. Our task is not only to rein in the downsides, but also to encourage human-centered innovation.
Such an approach starts from several key points:
- IT forms a critical building block for our society; it facilitates and drives change, but it also needs rules and guidance.
- To understand, to reflect, and to influence this development, we need a multi and interdisciplinary approach, looking at the individual and the society.
- It is a global international issue.
- The approach needs to be scientific, in the tradition of the enlightenment – and fact based in the best sense.
- People are the central focus. Technology is for people and not the other way round. We need to put “humankind” at the center of our work.
The challenge of building a just and democratic society with humans at the center of technological progress needs to be addressed. The Digital Humanism initiative is supported by a growing group of internationally renowned experts. They are engaged in a series of (on- and offline) events, pointing towards a positive future!