DKK 100 million to strengthen democracy for artificial intelligence

With an ambitious initiative worth DKK 100 million over ten years, VILLUM FONDEN and VELUX FONDEN aim to strengthen the democratic development of the future data-driven Denmark. 

Data and algorithms have become part of our everyday lives. Advances within artificial intelligence are presenting new opportunities and new challenges alike. Democracy is increasingly impacted by automated decision-making based on data and advanced algorithms that can be understood by only a few.  

With a new interdisciplinary initiative, VILLUM FONDEN and VELUX FONDEN aim to strengthen the democratic development of the data-based society of the future. A targeted research initiative will generate and disseminate new insights and new solutions in close interaction with citizens, public- and private-sector decision-makers, civil society organisations, IT professionals and other stakeholders: 

"Our new initiative for democracy in a digital age is a natural continuation of our efforts to contribute to the solution of major societal challenges. The goal is to position Denmark, over the next decade, at the international forefront in the struggle to safeguard democratic values and rights in a digital society," says Hans Kann Rasmussen, chair of VELUX FONDEN.

Through the lens of democracy

VILLUM FONDEN and VELUX FONDEN have allocated DKK 80 million to the research component of the initiative, which is to be an interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers within computer science, the humanities and the social sciences. The aim is to advance technology research in close connection with research on the societal framework in which the technology acts. The investigators will have the task to generate new knowledge and to develop specific technical and societal solutions seen through the lens of democracy: 

"It has been important for us to include both technical science and the humanities/social sciences. Tackling the major societal changes caused by digitalisation calls for a combination of perspectives from different disciplines," said Jens Kann-Rasmussen, chair of VILLUM FONDEN.
To create strong links between the researchers and society at large, DKK 20 million has been earmarked for an outreach and public engagement initiative. This will disseminate research findings to the general public, and channel their ideas and experiences back to the researchers. In this way, the research will make a difference in society. 

The initiative will be implemented through an open call with an application deadline of 1 May 2020. 

Call for expressions of interest in 'Algorithms, Data and Democracy'. 

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