Notre Dame–IBM Technology Ethics Lab Awards Nearly $1,000,000 to Build Collaborative Research Projects Between Teams of Notre Dame Faculty and International Scholars

Professors Nuno Moniz and Don Howard walk on campus in the spring, talking together.
Nuno Moniz and Don Howard

The Notre Dame–IBM Technology Ethics Lab announced today that it has selected 17 projects to receive almost $1,000,000 in funding for 2024 through its third annual Call for Proposals (CFP). Each year, the Lab releases a CFP for the purpose of funding practical and applied interdisciplinary research in tech ethics.

The theme of this most recent CFP was “The Ethics of Large-Scale Models,” and drew a highly competitive pool of applicants from across the globe. Each of the selected project teams has been paired with a Notre Dame faculty member who will collaborate on the project, which is a new and exciting aspect of this process.

“We’re beyond excited with this year’s cohort of the Call for Proposals, and the chance to support new and hopefully long-lasting collaborations between our Notre Dame faculty and other institutions in the US, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa, and South America. It’s a unique opportunity to support urgent and practical work at the forefront of thought and engineering on the ethics of large-scale models,” says Nuno Moniz, Director of the Notre Dame–IBM Technology Ethics Lab and Associate Research Professor, Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society.

“Large-scale models have drawn widespread attention for their usefulness across various contexts and general awareness that we must adopt this technology responsibly to maximize their benefits. I'm thrilled with the prospect that this year's Call for Proposals and the resulting research have the potential to make a meaningful impact on the ethical development and use of these models for years to come,” said Heather Domin, Global Leader of Responsible AI Initiatives at the IBM Office of Privacy and Responsible Technology and Associate Director of the Notre Dame–IBM Tech Ethics Lab.

Matt Sisk, Associate Professor of the Practice, Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society, echoes this excitement. Sisk will collaborate with researchers from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Colombia on a project that seeks to use AI to facilitate navigation and use of the Colombian Truth Commission documents. “We’re looking forward to deepening our connection to our Colombian partners on this project, which is focused on one of the first truly digital records of a peace and reconciliation process,” Sisk said. “Working together, we’ll be able to ensure that the AI-assisted translations and search interface for this material are both locally informed and ethically performed.”

These projects will be undertaken and completed in 2024, and final deliverables—which will range from practitioner’s playbooks to workshops to white papers—will be accessible through the lab’s website.

The lab’s previous CFP, which awarded more than $930,000 in funding to 19 proposals in 2023 around the theme of “Auditing Artificial Intelligence.” Deliverables from those projects will be linked from the 2023 CFP page in the coming months.

The 2024 project teams are:

Emillie de Keulenaar, University of Groningen, will collaborate with Lisa Schirch, Keough School of Global Affairs, on Conflict Moderation: Implementing Bridge-Building Design in LLM Models

Wayne Holmes and Caroline Pelletier, Institut "Jožef Stefan," will collaborate with Ying (Alison) Cheng, Psychology, on Contextualising AI Ethics in Higher Education: Comparing the Ethical Issues Raised by Large-Scale Models in Higher Education Across Countries and Subject Domains

Luis Gabriel Moreno Sandoval, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, will collaborate with Matt Sisk and Anna Sokol, Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society, and Maria Prada Ramirez, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, on Cultural Context-Aware Question-Answering Systems: An Application to the Colombian Truth Commission Documents

Wesley Hanwen Deng, Motahhare Eslami, Ken Holstein, and Jason Hong, Carnegie Mellon University, will collaborate with Toby Jia-Jun Li, Computer Science and Engineering, on Engaging End Users in Surfacing Harmful Algorithmic Behaviors in Large-Scale AI Models

Dhanyashri Kamalakkannan, Shyam Krishnakumar, and Titiksha Vashist, The Pranava Institute, will collaborate with a Notre Dame faculty member yet to be named on Ethical Deployment of Generative AI Systems in the Public Sector: A Practitioner's Playbook

Horacio Márquez-González, Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez, will collaborate with Nitesh Chawla, Computer Science and Engineering, and Angelica Garcia Martinez, Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society, on Ethical LLM-based Approach to Improve Early Childhood Development in Children with Cancer in LMICs

Kafui Attoh, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, and Jamie Kelly, Vassar College, will collaborate with Don Brower, Center for Research Computing, on Generative AI and the Social Value of Artifacts: The Case for Saving Photo Morgues

Jasna Čurković Nimac, Catholic University of Croatia, will collaborate with Nuno Moniz, Notre Dame–IBM Technology Ethics Lab and Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society, on How LLMs Modulate our Collective Memory and its Ethical Implications

Jon Chun and Katherine Elkins, Kenyon College, will collaborate with Yong Suk Lee, Keough School of Global Affairs, on How Well Can GenAI Predict Human Behavior? Auditing State-of-the-Art Large Language Models for Fairness, Accuracy, Transparency, and Explainability (FATE)

Avigail Ferdman, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, will collaborate with Don Howard, Philosophy, on Large Language Models and a Well-Rounded Approach to Human Flourishing

Alberto Blanco-Justicia, Josep Domingo-Ferrer, Najeeb Jebreel, and David Sánchez, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, will collaborate with Nuno Moniz, Notre Dame–IBM Technology Ethics Lab and Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society, on Mitigating Ethical Risks in Large Language Models through Localized Unlearning

Anastasia Aritzi, Christoph Lütge, and Franziska Poszler (Technical University of Munich) will collaborate with Carys Kresny, Film, Television, and Theatre on Research-Based Theater: An Innovative Method for Communicating and Co-Shaping AI Ethics Research & Development

Muhammad Ali, Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Shiran Dudy, Resmi Ramachandranpillai, and Thulasi Tholeti, Northeastern University Institute for Experiential AI, will collaborate with Toby Jia-Jun Li, Computer Science and Engineering, on Seeing the World through LLM-Colored Glasses: Detecting Biases and Deficiencies in Language Model Presentation of Underrepresented Topics

Catherine Botha, Franklyn Echeweodor, Anthony Isong, and Edmund Ugar, University of Johannesburg, will collaborate with Jaimie Bleck, Political Science, on Technology Transfer and Culture in Africa: Large Scale Models in Focus

Ranjit Singh and Emnet Tafesse, Data & Society Research Institute, will collaborate with Karla Badillo-Urquiola, Computer Science and Engineering, on The Ethics of Using Large-Scale Models: Investigating Literacy Interventions for Generative AI

Felix Kayode Olakulehin and Helen Titilola Olojede, National Open University of Nigeria, will collaborate with Nitesh Chawla, Computer Science and Engineering, on The Impact of Generative Artificial Intelligence—ChatGPT—on Higher Education in the Global South: Ethics and Sustainability

Lisa van der Werff and Theo Lynn, Dublin City University, will collaborate with Timothy Hubbard, Management & Organization, on The Influence of Virtual Avatar Race and Gender on Trust and Performance: Understanding How the Appearance of LLM-Enabled Avatars Influences Work in Virtual Reality

Full abstracts regarding these projects can be found on the Notre Dame–IBM Technology Ethics Lab website.

The Notre Dame–IBM Technology Ethics Lab, which is a key element of the Notre Dame Ethics Initiative, promotes broad-based, far-reaching interdisciplinary research, thought, and policy leadership in artificial intelligence and other technology ethics by engaging with relevant stakeholders to examine real-world challenges and provide practical models and applied solutions for ethical technology design, development, and deployment.

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