Building a responsible innovation and ethics agenda at BISS and Brightlands Smart Services Campus - workshop

Event date: January 31, 202010:00u
End date: January 31, 2020

Changes to the nature of work due to automation and data-driven technologies are a high policy priority for the European Union, Member-states and regional governments. While new technologies can create new jobs, many roles and tasks will also be transformed by the introduction of automation processes.  Newly created positions and responsibilities may require combinations of digital and social skills that are currently in short supply. 

At BISS and Brightlands Techruption we aim to be at the cutting edge of this transformation. Our aim is to help facilitate a digital transformation that has broad societal benefit, accountability, and support. For this reason, ‘Responsible Innovation and Ethics’ is a cross-cutting theme at the BISS Institute. 

We are building on our existing momentum in this area by hosting a scoping workshop where we will discuss some of the societal and ethical challenges we face in our work. We will also explore how ideas and practices like ethics-by-design, responsible innovation, and responsible AI can help us to address these challenges. 

In this discussion, we will take stock of where we are in terms of developing responsible innovation and ethics as a theme at BISS and Brightlands Techruption, what tools we have at our disposal, and how we can move forward. 

A concrete outcome of this scoping workshop will be to begin planning a larger Ethics-by-Design and Responsible Innovation theme day at the campus, together with Techruption use cases, in the model of last years’ successful HR Tech day.  


Technological inequality – understanding the relation between recent technological innovations and social inequalities
Professor Mark Levels (School of Business and Economic, Maastricht University, Coordinator: TECHNEQUALITY Project)

Recent technological innovations may fundamentally change the size and nature of social inequalities. Success in labour markets and society will likely be driven by other skills than in the past, and traditional predictors of social mobility (e.g. class, credentials) are likely to be affected by these technological innovations. The empirical plausibility of potential implications is still ill-understood, and as a result it is unclear how governments can best respond to technological innovations. Most of the literature addresses the question of whether automation will create or destruct jobs. This project answers this question better, but also pushes beyond the research frontiers by focussing on the broader societal impact of technological developments. 

10:45-11:00 Coffee

Welcome and Introduction to the NewHoRRIzon Project.

Dr Darian Meacham and Dr Robert Gianni (BISS/NewHoRRIzon Project)

NewHoRRIzon is a project that aims at further integrating Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in the research and innovation systems on national and international levels. The concept of RRI is an approach which intends to bridge gaps between science, research and innovation communities and society at large by fostering more inclusive, anticipatory, open and responsive research and innovation systems. In this frame, multiple stakeholders (from research, business, policy making, education and civil society) are involved in research and innovation on the project and system level to better align its processes and outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of society.

Challenges, Opportunities and Questions in the Digital Transformation: Policy and Education Perspectives.  

Professor Sally Wyatt (Maastricht University, VSNU, KNAW). 

Sally Wyatt is Professor of Digital Cultures at Maastricht University, coordinator of the VSNU Digital Society programme, and Director of Studies for UM’s Digital Society BA Programme. She has more than 30 years of experience in teaching and research about technology policy and about the relationship between technological and social change, focusing particularly on issues of social exclusion and inequality.

Dr Laury van den Ham (Strategist, Province Limburg) 

Organising knowledge and shaping visions and strategies in connection with a wide range of internal and external interests and stakeholders. Currently grappling with: the digital transformaion, economic and urban innovation. 

- Currently Working on “missiegedreven economisch beleid”. 
- Author “kader kwaliteit Limburgse Centra” (2019). 
- Initiator, co-author and program leader verkenning digitale samenleving (2018/2019).

12:15-13:00 Lunch

13:00-14:00 Mapping the road to responsible Innovation

Dr Yenisel Plasencia-Calaña (BISS) – Examples of Explainable AI 

Artificial Intelligence systems are being used to tackle problems in many different societal sectors.  Many of the outcomes of these systems are likely to directly impact sensitive decisions such as a medical diagnosis, loan assignment, etc. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for users to trust these AI systems, having confidence that that are are fair, transparent and robust.  This poses a challenge for AI developers who must ensure that they deliver AI systems that are responsible. We discuss how to achieve some of the aspects that contribute to more responsible AI methods from design: explainability, fairness and robustness.

Dr Mark Graus (UM/BISS) – The skinny on FAT/ML (Fair, Accountable, Transparent Machine Learning)

“The past few years have seen growing recognition that machine learning raises novel challenges for ensuring non-discrimination, due process, and understandability in decision-making. In particular, policymakers, regulators, and advocates have expressed fears about the potentially discriminatory impact of machine learning, with many calling for further technical research into the dangers of inadvertently encoding bias into automated decisions.” The FAT/ML Community aims to find collaborative and Innovative Solutions to these challenges. 

Dr Mira Vegter – Societal Acceptance of AI in Industry (Project SAAI

Project SAAI entails a collaborative research plan into the social acceptance of AI in the process industry. In this project, we will investigate the perceived societal and ethical issues that arise with the increased uptake of Artificial Intelligence in the process industry and what we can do to anticipate and overcome these. The implementation of AI referred to as Industry 4.0, is expected to make the process industry more sustainable. Mitigating ethical challenges would increase the acceptance of AI and would bring us one step closer to a more sustainable process industry. 

14:00-14:20 Scoping for a BSSC Ethics and Responsible Innovation Day
Lead: Dr Robert Gianni (BISS)

Structure of the day (insights from HR-Tech Day)
What themes or topics would you like to see addressed by the Keynotes
What themes or topics would you like to see addressed by the Breakouts?
Other hands-on or participatory activities we could include?  

Sponsored by the European Commission Horizon2020 funded NewHoRRIzon Project and BSSC - Techruption 



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