AI Intelligibility and Public Trust theme workshop

Human Data Interaction Network Plus: Workshop and Funding Call

‘AI Intelligibility and Public Trust’

 Date: Tuesday 4th December 2018

Timings: 10:00-16:00

Location: Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK

Organisers: Abigail Sellen (Deputy Director, Microsoft Research Cambridge), Michael Evans (BBC), Dan Hill (Arup), Ewa Luger (University of Edinburgh)

Aim of the workshop: This will be the first workshop of the EPSRC Network Plus in Human Data Interaction (HDI).  Our aim is to draw together people from all three sectors (academia, public and third sector) to start making connections/partnerships and think about projects and research issues that you’d like us to fund. We aim to use use the ‘lens’ of the HDI conceptual framework, to examine and establish technical goals in the domain of AI intelligibility and public trust. (For an introduction to HDI, see

The theme’s organisers will then use the workshop presentations and discussions to define theme goals, to advance HDI’s tenets of legibility, agency and negotiability in ways appropriate to this domain. In January 2019, we will launch a call for projects centred on these goals. We aim for a portfolio of projects that cover a range of theoretical, technical, and practice-based work. We will use a far-reaching and inclusive approach: requiring that project proposals are assessed not only on technical goals, but on factors such as their ethical and/or social impact, and their strategy for sustainability beyond the term of the NetworkPlus. To allow applicants flexibility of scope, we will offer three levels of funding: £50k, £10k and £2500. In order to stimulate genuine co-production, we will work with public and third sector partners directly, to create theme goals, project topics, and problem/benefit statements, actively matching them to people from other sectors. A public/third sector member will be one of those assessing each project proposal.

Why Human Data Interaction?  We are increasingly surrounded by intelligent systems.  These systems are driven by algorithms; sets of instructions, or rules, for a computer to follow.  It has been said that if every algorithm in the world stopped working at the same time, it would be the end of the world as we know it.  Algorithms are part of our everyday lives; in our smartphones, our laptops, our cars, appliances and toys – and at the systemic level in areas such as banking, airplane scheduling and piloting, trading and record keeping.  Our actions generate the data that keeps these systems in operation.

AI is the latest iteration of algorithmically driven systems. The algorithms we are now imagining behave less like those of old and more like the human brain.  With that comes a greater level of complexity, but also a greater level of obscurity.  When the context is relatively benign, for example recommendations of what you might buy next, then this isn’t such a problem.  But what happens when the system decides whether you can access medication, or whether you get hired, or who gets elected?

How do these systems reach their judgments? What data do they use? Why did they decide this thing and not something else? How can users change the outcome?  How should these systems present their decisions?  These questions, and others, are arising again and again. Helping people to understand and change how these systems work is a core concern for Human Data Interaction.

Apply to attend: If you’d like to attend, or have any questions, please contact Alan Munro (Alan.J.Munro {at}, stating: (a) your organisation (b) a few sentences on your interest in the topic, and (c) the sector you represent.  Places are limited, and will be selected to ensure diversity and sectoral spread.  Attendance is free, and lunch is provided.

We look forward to hearing from you!!

The HDI team

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