GAP-E: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Researching Key Industry Gaps in AI and Ethics
GAP-E is funded through Coventry University projects as part of a transdisciplinary research approach:
- Doctoral Training Alliance studentship: Smart Cities and AI: supporting ethical development from the bottom up
- Research Excellence Development Fund
Centre for Computational Science and Mathematical Modelling (CSM): James Brusey, Elena Gaura and Alison Halford
Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE): Scott deLahunta, David Mellor and Kathryn Stamp
September 2021 until September 2026
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an exciting discipline with new applications and techniques arising daily. However, many uses of AI pose well-known ethical risks. There are numerous new organisations and institutes working together with policy makers to try and ensure these risks can be mitigated for the betterment of society. The extraordinary attention and investment AI and Ethics is currently receiving reflects how important and urgent this topic is. Ethical risks are something university researchers know a lot about, as we are bound to the ethical review of our work no matter what field we are in. However, those of us working in computer science with external partners know how much novel research in AI comes from industry where there is a lack of understanding as well as confusion about ethics. We can see a clear gap here that will not be filled quickly because the ethics of AI is both technically and socially complex. That is why we believe this problem requires a transdisciplinary approach to bring together computer scientists who better understand the AI with the social sciences and humanities with expertise in the societal and cultural aspects of the problem.
While our short-term aim has been to understand and highlight key industry gaps in AI and Ethics, the long-term aim is to develop transdisciplinary approaches that can contribute to resolving this problem. It is anticipated that lessons learned in the Energy and Smart Cities sector research we are currently undertaking will be more widely applicable with the potential to impact other sectors.
EnergyREV is focused on delivering (by 2022) investable and scalable local business models which use integrated approaches to deliver cleaner, cheaper, energy services for more prosperous and resilient communities.
EnergyREV's initial research collaboration focused on the UK energy sector which is undergoing a significant shift towards digitalisation. A transdisciplinary study was commissioned by the EnergyREV consortium, a network of universities and industrial collaborators working together to tackle the challenges around smart local energy systems. The research was conducted by Alison Halford and Kathryn Stamp working with Euan Morris from the University of Strathclyde. The aim of the study was to conceptualise ethical frameworks that can aid fair and just transitions in the digitalisation of the UK energy landscape, and the research team used qualitative methods included phenomenological framing and focus-groups to do this. The team identified a range of issues including confusion not only around ethics but also AI and Machine Learning (ML), interest in regulation and legislation as monitoring practices and guidance, and how the energy sector understands innovation in relation to ethics. Their briefing paper including recommendations “The practice of AI and ethics in energy transition futures” was published in July 2022 and is available here.
Smart Cities and AI: supporting ethical development from the bottom up
Smart Cities and AI: supporting ethical development from the bottom up is a transdisciplinary project aiming to fill a gap in the research into the ethical development of innovative data-driven technologies for Smart Cities. The project takes a practice-based approach and combines methodologies from the humanities and social sciences with expertise in computing science and engineering to identify tangible steps for improving ethics-in-practice in the context of Smart Cities and AI development. This research is currently underway with doctoral student David Mellor under the supervision of Scott deLahunta and James Brusey.
New Study: The practice and perceptions of AI and Ethics in the Health Care Sector
GAP-E received funding from the Research Excellence Development Fund to follow on from the EnergyREV study, this time focussing on the practice and perceptions of AI and Ethics in the Health Care Sector. GAP-E members Alison Halford (CSM), Kathryn Stamp and Scott deLahunta (CDaRE) together with Teoma Naccarato (C-DaRE) are working in close collaboration with Petra Wark from the Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing to define the study scope, identify stakeholders/ study participants, develop a research design based on the EnergyREV study and produce a health care sector-focussed report with recommendations. Expected report publication date July 2023.