AI, Media and Democracy

There cannot be a democracy without a healthy media landscape, there is no free media without a democracy, and the media cannot function without technology.

The AI, Media and Democracy Lab will work on today’s and tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities that AI and digital technology present for media and democracy, and combine this with cutting-edge research at the interface between social sciences, law, humanities and computer science.

The AI, Media and Democracy Lab is a PLACE
where researchers, media partners, civil society, the City of Amsterdam, designers, journalists join forces to develop and test novel ways of applying AI to inform, engage and experiment ;

·       where fundamental research in law, communication science, philosophy, humanities, computer science help to understand how AI affects the public sphere, civic engagement or inclusiveness, and where the resulting insights are applied, tested, contested in practice and turned into actual services;

·       with room for blue-sky thinking and imaging how of AI and digital can transform the media and democracy;

·        to answer the question of what exactly ‘responsible use of AI’ in media and democracy means, but also what legal, socio-technical and economic conditions are needed to make it work;  

·        to use the potential of Amsterdam’s knowledge mile to support the Dutch and local media businesses, create customer experience in (cross) media design, and help media companies to gain a competitive edge vis-à-vis the large, global tech platforms.

The combination practice & theory cutting edge research will allow us to solve but also anticipate future issues and develop timely solutions. With the combination of researchers from the social sciences, computer science and humanities, the lab is a model of interdisciplinary research, powered by the full breadth of AI-related research in Amsterdam and beyond. The lab will be a place for a broad range of academic and societal actors from the sector, civil society and government to interact and participate in co-designing and testing technical, legal/ethical and empirical knowledge. The close cooperation with science journalists but also citizens and civil society, and fora such as Spui 25, de Balie and Pakhuis de Zwijger will allow the AI, media & policy lab to reach out to, and engage with the broader public. Situated in Amsterdam, a media city, the lab finally can contribute to boosting innovation and knowledge in this important sector.


Our projects are clustered around 4 themes

Cluster 1:
Blue Sky Thinking: the Media of the Future

Cluster 3:
Reshaping the relationship with the audience

Cluster 2:
Public values & AI

Cluster 4:
Creating the legal, ethical and organizational conditions for AI in the media



Amsterdam and the wider Hilversum area boast a rich network of players, both public and private sector. The AI, media & democracy lab will be a place where researchers from the UvA, HvA and CWI will interact with public and commercial media, news organisations, public partners, such as the City of Amsterdam and civil society.

The UvA, as a broad university is ideally positioned to supply the AI, Media & Democracy Lab with access to expertise to an active and truly interdisciplinary network of researchers from law, communication science, digital humanities, philosophy, political sciences and computer science. AI, Media & Democracy is a central research theme at the UvA, with three Research Priority areas Humane AI, the Information & Communication in the Data Society (ICDS) and RPA Global Digital Cultures, as well as the ICAI Civic AI Lab and the AI & Culture Lab. In addition, at the level of faculty, the UvA hosts a number of world-leading research groups in that field, such as the Institute for Information Law (IViR), the Amsterdam School of Communication (ASCoR), the Digital Methods Initiative, …..

At the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), we educate tomorrow’s professionals in a wide array of fields and disciplines of higher education. With our distinct focus on applied sciences, the AUAS enables students, lecturers and researchers to develop cutting-edge – and practical – knowledge and innovations. We have strong connections with industry and a network of partner institutions around the world. At our Centre for Applied Research studies are carried out on the influence of digital media and technology on society and the city.

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) is the national research institute for mathematics and computer science in the Netherlands. Founded in 1946, CWI is part of the Institutes Organisation of NWO, NWO-I. By creating a synergy between mathematics and computer science, CWI pursues fundamental and long-term innovation. Our strength is discovering and developing new ideas that benefit society and the economy, as well as other scientific areas. At CWI our research is rooted in practical, real-life questions and explores essential aspects of modern life. Our innovations form an integral part of numerous software products, programming languages and international standards. CWI has participated in several projects (European and National) on networked-media like 2-IMMERSE, LinkedTV and VRTogether. More recently, CWI is co-founder of the new ICAI Lab on Cultural AI, in which AI researchers collaborate with humanities scholars and cultural heritage professionals to develop AI that works on the subtle, subjective, polivocal data in the cultural sector. Three groups participate from CWI: Human-Centered Data Analytics, Distributed and Interactive Systems, and Intelligent and Autonomous Systems.

Since many if not most of the media partners operate (also) nationally, the lab is ideally positioned to scale up its research & innovation output. In addition, as some of the leaders of the initiative are directly involved in the NLAIC Media and Culture group, the DiSa and other relevant national networks, such as fablabs and NESTA labs across Europe, also these networks will be used to scale up.

Keep yourself posted