As part of its strategy to disseminate knowledge related to AI, the Toulouse Interdisciplinary Institute of Artificial Intelligence (ANITI) and Ekitia (formerly Occitanie Data) launched on September 22 a citizen consultation on the knowledge, acceptability and ethical issues concerning emerging technologies related to big data and AI.
Artificial intelligence is now part of our daily lives but still raises many fears. Often confronted with mistrust of this technology, the ANITI and Ekitia teams have realized that there is no clear knowledge of the population’s opinion on the potential of AI and its place in tomorrow’s society. They have therefore launched a regional consultation to assess the knowledge and opinions of the largest number of people on AI.
Bertrand Monthubert, President of Ekitia and CNIG (National Council of Geographic Information) explains:
“Between enthusiasm and concern, AI leaves few of us indifferent. Each of us must be able to understand the stakes of data and AI in the face of a technology that disrupts our daily lives. By directly consulting the citizens of Occitania, we are working to make them actors of their digital future.”
ANITI and Ekitia share the same value of a trusted AI. Supported by the Occitanie Region for this survey, they were accompanied in the development of the methodology by a multidisciplinary scientific committee composed of researchers, industrialists, representatives of the National Education and citizens. The target audience is wide: schoolchildren, students, digital professionals and neophytes. With the ambition of collecting several thousand responses, this unprecedented consultation will be the largest ever carried out in France on this subject.
Marc Renner, Provisional Administrator of the Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées Federal University, states:
“Artificial intelligence is known to everyone, without everyone having a precise idea of its definition, its functioning and its implications. Far from being purely technological, its stakes touch the very heart of democracy and freedom. It is therefore fundamental that, in addition to research and training activities, participatory science initiatives and the dissemination of scientific culture related to AI are deployed. This consultation is therefore an essential step to allow citizens to take ownership of AI issues!
Participation in this consultation only takes about ten minutes. The latter includes four separate surveys, each one targeting a different audience and addressing the knowledge of AI and the concerns of citizens regarding key issues such as personal data protection, non-discrimination, human-machine collaboration or the carbon footprint.
The six-month consultation aims to:
– Reinforce awareness-raising actions on AI (exhibition, conferences – debate, educational files…) adapted to each of the audiences, with actions particularly targeted towards the school public (students and teachers);
– Produce elements of analysis on the perception of the transformation of the work by the IA from the answers expressed by the professionals of the IA;
– Share with the academic community, socio-economic and political decision-makers the conclusions allowing to establish new orientations to put AI and the use of data at the service of citizens.
A full analysis of the responses will be conducted by scientists, but also during a participatory event open to citizens. The method, data and analysis will be made available to the public as widely as possible, in accordance with the principle of open science.
Gwenaël Kaminski, teacher-researcher in cognitive sciences at the Université Jean-Jaurès, project manager at the Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées and coordinator of the consultation, concludes:
“We have very particular expectations regarding the position of future respondents on some very specific points of this consultation: on the question of the intention of an AI, the control of AI technologies, the fields of application of AI (medical, legal, administrative…) or on data sharing, a recurring element of the debate on this topic.”
This citizen consultation on AI, by contributing to the science-society dialogue, will empower the participants, and will generate concrete actions at the regional level, which will be shared nationally by the academic networks.