The Gravitation program Algosoc, an ambitious interdisciplinary initiative, brings together over 30 PhDs, postdocs, and a similar number of professors from diverse fields to explore the impact of artificial intelligence on societal values. Covering justice, media, and health, Algosoc investigates AI's far-reaching effects, including decision-making algorithms and Generative AI. Today, the project officially kicks off. Marilu Miotto, Tonka Milosevic, and Yefim Shulman share their insights and aspirations within this innovative research initiative.
Marilu Miotto - Media Sector
What is your role within the initiative?
Marilu: "In the media sector of Algosoc, my work involves studying how the use of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) generated deep fakes will impact the news media industry. In recent years, some examples of these deep fakes have circulated (e.g. the “photos” of Trump being arrested or Pope Francis' White Puffer Coat AI Image). My interest is in exploring how the diffusion of this media content (mostly images and videos) will impact the public’s trust in news media."
What are your ambitions for this research?
Marilu: "I want to contribute to our knowledge about disinformation and how people start and keep believing in unreliable sources and proven fake information. Furthermore, my contribution to understanding the mechanism behind that process would help create better strategies to contrast disinformation diffusion."
Tonka Milosevic - Health Sector
Can you describe your role in Algosoc?
Tonka: "I am focusing on the health sector, particularly on how AI is used in apps designed for mental wellbeing and how those apps then impact users’ public values. For instance, in order for the user to keep track of their mental health and use the app, data are collected, stored and used, which might pose risks to their privacy. Furthermore, many apps offer personalization and recommendations which might pose a risk to their autonomy. My research looks into how these apps, guided by AI decision-making, affect the values and mental health of university students. There’s a growing concern about student mental health, and these apps may play a crucial role in the prevention and treatment.”
What drives you in this research?
Tonka: "Having been a student myself not long ago, I'm passionate about finding ways to make mental wellbeing apps more suitable and respectful for students. These apps have the potential to significantly improve student mental health, but they need to be designed thoughtfully, respecting the values and preferences of their users. My research aims to provide insights that will help app designers and creators make tools that are not only helpful but also align with students’ values and needs."
Yefim Shulman - Health Sector
What is your research focus within Algosoc?
Yefim: "My work as a postdoc is centered around the impact of AI systems that make decisions or influence how we make decisions in healthcare. These systems, known as automated decision-making systems, are increasingly used to support healthcare delivery. I’m examining how they affect the economy, politics, and the value we place on different aspects of technology in healthcare."
How do you hope your research will contribute to solutions to societal problems?
Yefim: “My goal is to provide a clearer understanding of how these AI systems affect our wellbeing and society. I hope to inform the creation of rules and guidelines that make these technologies safer and more effective. Additionally, my research should help healthcare professionals understand their role in using these AI systems and assist policymakers in making informed decisions about healthcare technology.”