WBS building

The school will be joining 20 other European institutions in the TANGO project

Warwick Business School in partnership with a host of European universities has been awarded €8 million to develop the next generation of human-centric AI systems.

Funded by the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, the project will begin in autumn 2023 with 21 partner organisations from nine countries across Europe.

AI holds tremendous potential to enhance human decisions and to avoid cognitive overload and bias in high-stakes scenarios. To date, however, adoption of AI-based support systems has been minimal in settings such as hospitals, tribunals and public administrations.

The project, known as TANGO, will develop the theoretical foundations and the computational framework for synergistic human-machine decision making, paving the way for the next generation of human-centric AI systems. 

Nick Chater, Professor of Behavioural Science and author of the award-winning book The Mind is Flat, will be leading the school's involvement in TANGO and says they will be bringing their ground-breaking theory of virtual bargaining - which explains social interaction as a process of continually negotiating implicit agreements - to it.

He said: "This is a wide-ranging European research program looking at how humans and AI systems can work effectively together. TANGO is an apt name for the project as much like two partners dancing, in order to co-ordinate effectively both human and AI systems have to anticipate and react to each other's actions to produce a coherent overall result.

"The Warwick contribution is to build on our research program which understands co-ordinated behaviour, whether between people, or between people and AI, as depending on a process of implicit bargaining - ie imagining what we would agree to do, if we had the time to negotiate and discuss.

"But as with dancing, in real world interactions there is no time for actual discussion, to collaborate effectively human and AI systems must closely mesh their actions together in real time."

The TANGO project team argue that in order for AI to fully develop its enormous potential in terms of having a positive impact on individuals, society and the economy, we need to completely rethink the way in which AI systems are conceived.

The researchers believe people should feel they can trust the AI systems they interact with, in terms of the reliability of its predictions and decisions, the capacity of the systems to understand their needs, and guarantees that the AI is genuinely aiming to support them rather than an undisclosed third party.

In other words, TANGO believe a symbiosis should be established between humans and machines, in which all parties are aligned in terms of values, goals and beliefs, and support and complement each other so as to reach objectives beyond what each would be able to do by itself.

How can humans and AI work together?

Project co-ordinator Andrea Passerini, Associate Professor at the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science (DISI) of the University of Trento, said: "It takes two to TANGO! Our perspective is that a deep mutual understanding between humans and machines is essential for the development of truly effective and innovative AI systems that can expand human reasoning and decision-making capabilities."

The potential impact on individuals and society of the TANGO project will be evaluated on a pool of real-world use cases: namely supporting women during pregnancy and after child birth; helping surgical teams' decision-making during operations; supporting loan officers and applicants in credit lending decision processes, and working with public policymakers in designing incentives and allocating funds.

Dr Passerini added: "The success of these case studies will foster the adoption of TANGO as the framework of reference for developing a new generation of synergistic AI systems, and will strengthen the leadership of Europe in human-centric AI."

The 21 partner organisations include seven from Italy (the University of Trento, which is the co-ordinator of the network, the University of Pisa, the National Research Council, Scuola Normale Superiore, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, U-Hopper srl, and Intesa Sanpaolo); four from Serbia (the AI Research and Development Institute, SHARE Foundation, the A11 - Initiative for Economic and Social Rights, plus the Ministry of Family Welfare and Demography); two from the UK (Swansea University, and Warwick Business School); two from Belgium (the Center for European Policy Studies, and EIT Digital); two from Germany (University Hospital Heidelberg, and TU Darmstadt) and the Université Paris Cité, of France, Carr Communications, of Ireland, Surgical Science Sweden AB and the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics, of Spain.

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