EuropeSay: Citizen Dialogues on AI

October 1, 2019 12:00 am → December 31, 2019 12:00 am

EuropeSay seeks to engage European society in setting the direction for artificial intelligence research and innovation and broaden the debate on the ethical, legal and societal issues arising from the project. 


So far, very little public engagement has been carried out on the subject of artificial intelligence (AI), despite several calls for doing just this. AI, or simple predecessors hereof, are already fundamentally influencing our lives. When online, we are met with artificial intelligence all the time: suggested and targeted news, routes, and purchases, as well as in public administration or medical diagnosticConsidering the massive scale on which it is already implemented and the even greater potential of future developments of AI, it is surprising that next to no public engagement has been carried out. Therefore, there is little knowledge about what the European population thinks of AI in general, and of the many different aspects in which it is already affecting their daily lives, as well as the manifold ways it could potentially do so in the future. 

Consequently, there is a need for public dialogue about what we want AI to do; from a civil and societal point of view, what is the legitimate use of artificial intelligenceand where is the limit for what constitutes unethical or unacceptable use. In addition, there has been very little discussion at the conceptual level of how to define if AI is working, and what the criteria are for measuring it. 


The European population not only indirectly funds a lot of the research in artificial intelligence, it also has to live with the way the technology is applied now and in the future. For this reason, the citizes should also have a say in how the artificial intelligence develops.


From October to end of November 2019, more than 700 citizens from 14 EU member states will take part in EuropeSay on AI, a part of the Human Brain Project’s (HBP) endeavors to be responsive to the issues, dilemmas, and questions that this project’s research brings about, ethically and societally. “Ethics & Society” activities within the EU flagship project: The Human Brain Project (HBP). 


Facilitating a meeting 

As a host, you will invite 4-8 people to participate in your meeting. Participants can be your friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances from the sports club or other local associations, etc. The meeting can take place anywhere the host wants, as long everyone has access to the internet. This can be in the host’s own living room, in an office meeting room, in the local community center, etc. When all the participants are gathered, the host can start the meeting. Participants should preferably sit so they all can see each other when speaking and so they all can see the screen of the host’s computer. The host accesses the online platform and shares the link with the other participants (follow instructions below). Now just follow the on-screen instructions. The online platform will guide participants through approx. 2.5 hours of alternating short texts, videos and questions. At the end of each round, participants are asked to answer a set of questions. During the meeting, the host participates on equal terms with the rest of the participants. Therefore, the host has no special responsibility when the meeting is started. 


Download guide: “Create dialogue meeting for EuropeSay.pdf” 


By engaging citizens in deliberations about the societal and ethical impact of artificial intelligencethe Human Brain Project aims to democratically qualify the debate by including the concerns and opinions of the wider public and thus supplement the viewpoints of those who are already well-represented, such as researchers, policy-makers, engineers, businesses and interest organizations. The output will be used to broaden the knowledge base for policymaking at both the EU and national level with knowledge about what the European population actually thinks, rather than the second-guessing that has been the best source up till now. 

The results of the citizen deliberation will be the basis of a report that will be compiled by the Danish Board of Technology. This report will be presented for policymakers and researchers at the European and national levels, and it will feed into the HBP analysis of the ethical and societal issues, questions and impacts of AI. 


To learn more about the EuropeSay concept, see the “EuropeSay Concept Note”


More info 

EuropeSay is coordinated by the Danish Board of Technology and is part of the large EU project Human Brain Project (HBP), which is an initiative under the heading “Ethics and Society”. We organize dialogues with citizens and stakeholders on issues and themes related to the brain research project. Our goal is to foster involvement and engagement across Europe when setting a direction for innovation and artificial intelligence. Together with our European partners, we want to broaden the debate on the ethical, legal and societal approaches to artificial intelligence. The result of EuropeSay is a report delivered to the European Commission and included in the Human Brain Project. The Human Brain Project is one of the two largest scientific projects ever funded by the European Union. Read more here. 

In this article, experts and stakeholders summarize and debate challenges with current and future use of artificial intelligence. 

See article: AI 360: Steering AI for societal benefit 

Read the report: “AI 360 | COPENHAGEN: Report from the workshop“. 


If you have any questions about the project or the dialogue meetings, please contact: 
Nicklas Bang Bådum, Project Manager, at nbb@tekno.dkor
Marie Louise Jørgensen, Senior Project Manager, 

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