This research focuses on how the rapid development and increasing adoption of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automated decision making (ADM) are creating new questions of trust, affecting public confidence and raising concerns about social inclusion and equity.
These technologies offer enormous potential benefits to economies, governments and society in general. Their raw data processing power, analytical speed and unique capabilities promise to:
- greatly boost economic productivity and social inclusion
- enable more efficient use of resources
- create new opportunities for creativity and innovation
However, there is widespread concern about who owns the data and infrastructure and how it’s used, governed and stored.
This has led to fears of:
- human rights violations
- surveillance and privacy intrusions
- bias, discrimination and social polarisation
- fake news and political manipulation
The UK government’s white paper on AI regulation highlights that it’s critical for business and government to win the public’s trust and confidence in AI systems.
Our researchers are working to better understand the challenges of establishing trustworthy, transparent and explainable systems of AI governance across the UK’s economic, social and political institutions. We explore the ethics and practice of online privacy and security, data trusts and data sharing, and emerging socio-technical issues related to trust and trustworthiness of digital systems.
We focus in particular on:
- data governance mechanisms such as data trusts, data cooperatives and contractual models
- the principles and practice of data protection law
- innovative approaches to understanding cybercrime and supporting cybersecurity, aided by our established links with a wide variety of law enforcement agencies
- ethical questions related to autonomous weapons systems
- understanding algorithmic bias and accountability, as well as broader ethical and epistemological questions around digital data, algorithmic decision-making and artificial intelligence
- novel trust, privacy and security risk management approaches for complex cyber-physical and AI systems modelling emerging views of how to best govern the internet, as outlined in Wendy Hall and Kieron O’Hara’s book Four Internets: Data, Geopolitics and the Governance of Cyberspace (Oxford University Press)
Some recent research projects related to this theme include:
- A blueprint for a social data foundation, which allows patient health data to benefit research and innovation while protecting patient privacy
- A Multidisciplinary Study of Predictive Artificial Intelligence Technologies in the Criminal Justice System
- Trustworthy Human Robot Teams
- Verifiably Safe and Trusted Systems (VESTAS)