Significant Impacts of AI Showcased at the WASP-HS Winter Conference

Published: February 22, 2023

How much of an impact can systems like ChatGPT have on how we perceive the world around us? Are there ethical dilemmas with art generated by artificial intelligence (AI)? What is required for us to have a good trust in AI? These are some of the questions addressed by the research showcased at the WASP-HS winter conference in February 2023.

“The rapid development of AI means that AI technology is having an increasing impact on our society and
on us as individuals. To understand this impact, it is important to look at AI from different perspectives.
The conference brings together young researchers from the WASP-HS graduate school to understand AI and the ever-increasing impact of AI technology on society, says Christian Balkenius, Director of the WASP-HS Graduate School and Professor of Cognitive Science at Lund University.

Broad Perspectives on the Implications of AI

What are the ethical dilemmas of AI generated art? What does it take for us to have a good trust in AI? The list is long over the topics addressed related to the wide-ranging effects that AI has on people personal lives and society in general. The WASP-HS graduate school involves over 70 PhD students spread across 14 Swedish universities and research institutes. The winter conference serves as meeting place for the PhD students who are representing a variety of disciplines.

“The WASP-HS winter conference has been a great opportunity for me to broaden my view on the concepts I use and even see my own research from new perspectives. Throughout these days, I have come across different approaches to defining complex concepts such as those of learning and knowledge which were new for me despite the fact that I have a scientific background in education” says Alexandra Farazouli, WASP-HS PhD student at the Department of Education, Stockholm University.

The PhD students provided insights in their work in the form of oral presentations, panel discussions, and poster presentations.

“In my research project I try to show how different concepts such as uncertainty, prior knowledge,
conflicts and mispredictions interact to cause people’s complex and multifaceted interests. At the conference, I showcased previously unpublished research and discussed challenges and opportunities of trying to mimic brain processes using AI,” says Felix Thiel, WASP-HS PhD student in Cognitive Science at Umeå University.

Felix Thiel, WASP-HS PhD student in Cognitive Science at Umeå University
Felix Thiel, WASP-HS PhD student in Cognitive Science at Umeå University. Photo by Hanna Nordin.

AI Affects Human Ethics and Democracy

During the conference, Peter-Paul Verbeek, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Science and Technology in a Changing World at the University of Amsterdam, gave a keynote on AI and ethical deception.

“AI brings a new type of understanding of the world around us – for instance, through interacting with the world through AI, though cooperation with AI, as well as through interacting with AI. Due to this, the ways which we do ethics is very much affected by AI technology”, says Professor Paul-Peter Verbeek at the conference.

Malin Rönnblom, Professor of Political Science at Karlstad University also gave an insightful keynote on the political and democratic implications of AI and automation.

“Ethics pushes societal problems towards issues of right and wrong in individual situations; therefore, it cannot funnel the inherent political force that exists in social power relations”, says Professor Malin Rönnblom.

Malin Rönnblom, Professor of Political Science at Karlstad University, giving a presentation at the WASP-HS winter conference.
Malin Rönnblom, Professor of Political Science at Karlstad University. Photo by Hanna Nordin.

The conference also brought together WASP-HS university lecturers to participate in the first meeting of the year in the program’s academic leadership program. The aim of the academic leadership program is to prepare senior lecturers to become excellent research leaders that both the future academy and society need.