COMMIT/: Cultural bias in AI

Track theme: "How to deal with cultural bias in AI?"

Programme: Tuesday 17 March 2020
Public keynote about Cultural bias in AI
13h50 - 14h20 Keynote 1 tbc
14h20 - 14h50 Keynote 2 tbc

Discussion session
15h00 - 17h30 Session by invitation only

Aim of the track
Do you want to discover where the cultural biases are in your organisation's data and systems?

Cultural AI is the study, design and development of socio-technological AI systems that are implicitly or explicitly aware of the subtle and subjective complexity of human culture. It is as much about using AI for understanding human culture as it is about using knowledge and expertise from the humanities to analyse and improve AI technology. It studies how to deal with cultural bias in data and technology and how to build AI technology that is optimised for cultural and ethical values.

Currently, there is a need for such systems. While the big tech companies admit this, they still focus on the larger markets and ignore a large amount of cultural and linguistic variation that one finds even in a small market like the Netherlands. If big tech develops a voice assistant system for Dutch, for instance, it will be trained to recognise standard Dutch, not any of its dialects. Cultural biases cause user exclusion, undermining the efforts of governments to leverage digitalisation in order to be inclusive, resilient and democratic.

In this session we invite you to discuss, and perhaps discover, your organisational use cases where AI fails, performs sub-optimally, or causes exclusion because it is not aware of the socio-cultural context it is to operate in. Think of the voice assistant that cannot deal with dialects or an automatic classification system for job ads and CVs that is trained on a predominantly male work domain like ICT that misclassifies many CVs from a different domain.

The goal of the session is to draw up plans to address issues arising from the lack of cultural awareness in AI systems, and to put culturally aware AI on the map within institutes, companies and policy makers.

Further information

Track Chairs
Antal van den Bosch (Director Meertens Institute)
Jacco van Ossenbruggen (VU Amsterdam/ Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica)
Mieke van den Berg (Director COMMIT/)
Marieke van Erp (Lead Digital Humanities Lab, KNAW Humanities Cluster)

KNAW Humanities Cluster
Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica

Special registration

In order to facilitate diverse constructive discussions, the total number of participants to the discussion session part of the track on "How to deal with cultural bias in AI?" will be limited to about 35.

If you did not receive an invitation to the track and wish to participate in the discussion session, please send an email with a brief (5 lines) motivation of your wish to participate and the benefit of your participation to the track to, 17 February at the latest. Please keep in mind that a selection will take place and you may not be selected to attend the sessions. You will receive a decision concerning your attendance by 25 February.

In the coming years, COMMIT/ will undertake various activities to strengthen, link and make visible the public-private partnership in the field of ICT Science. For six years knowledge institutions (general and technical universities), start-ups, SMEs, corporate companies and non-profit organisations across the entire ICT-Science worked together in the COMMIT/ ICT research program. More than 130 partners worked together in this public-private partnership until 2017. From security to e-health and from human-machine interaction to e-food.

Cultural AI Lab
The Cultural AI Lab initiative is aimed at the analysis of the inherent cultural bias in data, and the influence of this bias on computer programmes operating on these data. The lab is a unique collaboration of humanities scholars from the KNAW Humanities Cluster, computer scientists of CWI and TNO, and the cultural heritage sector NDE represented by the KB National Library, the Netherlands Institute Sound & Vision, and the Rijksmuseum.

event management
 event management