News

Funding Granted to 16 Projects in AI and Autonomous Systems

Published: September 12, 2019

Participants at the AI for Humanity and Society 2023 workshops. Photo: Charlotte Carlberg

Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation has granted SEK 96 million to be shared by 16 research projects studying the impact of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems on our society and our behaviour.

The 16 projects seek to answer a number of questions relating to ethics, society and behaviour in the technology shift that society is facing. Examples of these questions include: How does the labour market change when robots take over certain jobs? What does the growing use of facial and voice recognition technology entail? How is human behaviour affected by the increasing use of drones? What happens in the retail sector when AI is increasingly controlling consumer choice? Is it possible for digital assistants to counteract ill-health due to stress? Who determines which ethical choices an AI should make?

“It is incredibly important for Sweden to keep up with the technology shift that is happening right now. It is a matter, on the one hand, of being part of developing and implementing the technology and, on the other, of users accepting and feeling comfortable using it. It is therefore important to study both the positive and negative effects, both on the individual and on society as a whole. By looking at the benefits and the risks, we can adopt a safer approach to the new,” says Peter Wallenberg Jr, chair of Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.

The 16 projects are distributed across nine universities and institutions around Sweden. Read more about each project.

The projects are part of the national research programme WASP-HS, where the abbreviation HS stands for humanities and society. The research programme was initiated by Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation and Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation and encompasses a total of SEK 660 million over ten years. The programme will primarily analyse the ethical, economic, social, legal and labour market aspects that may be entailed by the ongoing technological shift in society.

“In order to ensure that artificial intelligence is beneficial to all of humanity, we must understand its consequences. The projects that are now starting can contribute to making sure that AI and autonomous systems are in line with humanitarian values and ethical principles. That is why this research programme is so important,” says Virginia Dignum, Professor at Umeå University and Scientific Director of WASP-HS.

WASP-HS will also have a national graduate school with up to 70 doctoral students, at least ten new research groups, twelve visiting professors and a number of research projects.

Through the research programme Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP), Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has already invested SEK 3 billion in basic research on software, autonomous systems and AI. The two programmes are independent of each other, but collaborate on graduate school among other things.

List of project grants:

Project: AI transparency and consumer trust
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Asociate Professor Stefan Larsson, Lund University

Project: Artificial Intelligence, democracy and human dignity
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Professor Anna-Sara Lind, Uppsala University

Project: Bias and methods of AI technology studying political behavior
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Dr. Annika Fredén, Karlstad University

Project: BioMe: Existential challenges and ethical imperatives of biometric AI in everyday lifeworlds
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Associate Professor Amanda Lagerkvist, Uppsala University

Project: Digital companions as social actors: Employing socially intelligent systems for managing stress and improving emotional wellbeing
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Professor Helena Lindgren, Umeå University

Project: Ethics as enacted through movement – shaping and being shaped by autonomous systems
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Professor Kristina Höök, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Project: Gothenburg research initiative for politically emergent systems (GRIPES)
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Dr. Asad Sayeed, University of Gothenburg

Project: Predicting the diffusion of AI-applications
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Associate Professor Pontus Strimling, Institute for Futures Studies

Project: Professional trust and autonomous systems
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Professor Jonas Ivarsson, University of Gothenburg

Project: The emergence of complex intelligent systems and the future of management
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Professor Nicolette Lakemond, Linköping University

Project: The ethics and social consequences of AI & caring robots. Learning trust, empathy and accountability
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Professor Ericka Johnson, Linköping University

Project: The imperfect creator creating the perfect: Ethics for autonomous systems/AI
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Professor Christian Balkenius, Lund University 

Project: The labor-market impact of firm-level adoption of AI and autonomous systems
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Professor Oskar Nordström Skans, Uppsala University

Project: The new scientific revolution? AI and big data in biomedicine
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Associate Professor Francis Lee, Uppsala University

Project: The rise of social drones: A constructive design research agenda
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Professor Morten Fjeld, Chalmers University of Technology

Project: Quantum law: The legal significance of quantum computing
Grant: SEK 6 million over five years 
Principal investigator: Dr. Valentin Jeutner, Lund University