Smart Information Systems: What are the challenges?

Smart Information Systems (SIS) denote technologies that combine artificial intelligence and big data analytics for analysis and decision-making, for example, Google’s search engine and translation tools, AI algorithms used in Facebook and other social media, Amazon’s Alexa home assistant, and healthcare and surgery robots.

Responsible research and innovation aim to ensure that processes and outcomes of research and innovation are socially acceptable, ethical, desirable and sustainable. However, despite the flurry of research and policy activities surrounding Smart Information Systems, at present, there is no agreement on what exactly the potential risks to ethics and human rights will be, what can be done about them or whose responsibility this would be.

Shaping the ethical dimensions of Smart Information Systems

How can we ensure that ethical principles and human rights are safeguarded during the development and deployment of Smart Information Systems?

The SHERPA project will develop policy recommendations to identify and address the ethical dimensions of Smart Information Systems (SIS) technologies.

The SHERPA project will support responsible research innovation by:

  • Developing a workbook on responsible development of Smart Information Systems, containing findings, insights and recommendations, proposing novel and additional approaches, notably guidelines for responsible research and innovation in this field
  • Organising workshops with stakeholders to discuss different scenarios in which emerging Smart Information Systems are likely to be implemented and socially relevant in the near future, focusing on scenarios that explore the key factors affecting ethical, legal, social and economic aspects of everyday life in 2025.
  • Organising focus groups with stakeholders to present technical and regulatory options and validate and prioritise the proposals
  • Advocating and promoting and implementing the most promising solutions to key decision-makers to achieve impact and pave the way for socially acceptable, desirable and sustainable SIS.

Working with end-users to validate and test sound research

Trilateral engages Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry experts, civil society organisations, policymakers, professional bodies, security companies, academia, and the media in a Delphi study to understand the complexity and challenges of implementing Smart Information Systems and explore regulatory options with industry experts.

The Delphi method will allow end-users to identify issues likely to emerge from future technologies and potential solutions for the responsible development and use of Smart Information Systems.

Enhancing Impact via raising awareness and strengthening engagement

Trilateral works on enhancing the project findings by creating a network including ICT industry experts, civil society organisations, policymakers, professional bodies, security companies, academia, and the media to reach out to all relevant stakeholders’ communities, facilitating novel collaborations, amplifying SHERPA’s results and encouraging responsible research innovation.

Policy Advice

Trilateral will develop a set of policy recommendations that promote the ethical development of new technologies, focusing on strengthening of human rights, reduction of ethical tensions, enhancement of responsible research innovation, ease of use, the likelihood of adoption, and value for money.



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The SHERPA project - Shaping the ethical dimensions of smart information systems (SIS), a European perspective - has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 786641.

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