AI Friday Feb 21: Digital Impact North Kick-off

Framtidens fabriker, smarta städer, digitala vårdtjänster och sociala robotar är några exempel på konkreta resultat som kraftsamlingen Digital Impact North ska bidra till. Satsningen invigs fredag 21 februari i MIT-huset, Umeå universitet, med bland andra Hans Adolfsson, rektor Umeå universitet, och Peter Juneblad, näringslivschef, Umeå kommun. Läs mer här:

Nov 29: AI Friday – Humanities and AI

Is there a Human in our AI Future?

Date: Friday November 29

Time: 12.00-14.10

Location: MIT-Place, by the main entrance of the MIT Building

Host: Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Umeå University

Register: November 27 latest at 10.00, please, use this link.


12.00-12.10 Welcome + lunch sandwich & coffee + short info about AI@UmU

12.10-12.40 Humanistic Perspectives on AI: First Looks

Charles M Ess, Professor in Media Studies, University of Oslo

I will first describe what makes the current wave of interest in AI different from previous cycles, and then discuss specific ways AI and robotic technologies help us explore central human questions – of self-knowledge, ethics and ethical judgment, and sex, love, eros and embodiment (sexbots). The comments on self-knowledge and ethical judgment further help prepare us for the more detailed explorations in On Artificial Minds, (Pär Sundström) and Do Autonomous Systems Make Us More or Less Autonomous? (Kalle Grill).  The discussion of sexbots likewise will be further expanded by the discussions of Human/AI Relationships in Speculative Fiction (Maria Lindgren Leavenworth), Natural language processing and spatial cognition: What can robots learn from linguistic patterns? (Marlene Johansson Falck) and AI and Manual Labour (Johan Jarlbrink)

12.40-12.55 On Artificial Minds

Pär Sundström, Professor in Philosophy, Umeå University

I will discuss whether it is possible to build artificial minds.  Is it possible to build machines that can see, think, feel, solve problems, invent, wonder, dream, wish, mourn, love, and create and appreciate art like we do?  Or who even can do some of these things better than we human beings can? I will also discuss risks and prospects of such a scenario.

12.55-13.10 Do Autonomous Systems Make Us More or Less Autonomous?

Kalle Grill, Associate professor in Philosophy, Umeå University

Like all technology, autonomous computer systems can increase our ability to influence our environment and our lives. In particular, by surveying our environment and issuing tips and reminders, future AI systems may support us in living in greater accordance with our own values. At the same time, outsourcing cognitive and social tasks to machines may leave us less capable, less responsible, and less autonomous.

13.10-13.25 Human/AI Relationships in Speculative Fiction

 Maria Lindgren Leavenworth, Associate Professor of English Literature, Umeå University

In the wealth of literary depictions of Artificial Intelligence it is not only technological advances that are imagined, but also new forms of love, family and kinship. By looking at a small sample of texts, I address what human/AI relationships reveal about ethics, body and identity.

13.25-13.40 Natural language processing and spatial cognition: What can robots learn from linguistic patterns? 

Marlene Johansson Falck, Associate professor of English linguistics, Umeå University

The ways in which natural language users construe different concepts give us an idea of how they structure their thinking. They provide information of how speakers structure their experiences of both concrete, real world physical objects, such as houses, or less abstract concepts such as our concepts of the air around us, love, or a diet. Patterns such as these might be valuable for robotic world modelling.

13.40-13.55 AI and Manual Labour

Johan Jarlbrink, Associate professor in Culture- and Media Studies 

Supervised machine learning requires training data tagged and classified by human beings. Although it is often outsourced to and hidden in facilities in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, manual work is essential for many AI systems. I’m interested in these repetitive tasks, how they are built into the infrastructure that make smart machines possible.

13.55-14.10 Q & A + summary

The AI Friday is an event organised as part of the national effort AI Competence for Sweden aimed at increasing knowledge about AI:

Mark also December 6 in your calendars!

Nov 18: Between hype and hysteria: AI and the Humanities

Place and time: Humlab, Nov 18, 10-16.00

As artificial intelligence systems rapidly diffuse into our contemporary lifeworlds, the possible benefits and hazards of such systems demand continued ethical and political evaluation. More fundamentally, these systems, including social robots, sexbots, and biometric technologies, return us to the most basic questions of the humanities, such as “What does it mean to be human?” and “What are good lives for human beings?”

In our event ”Between hype and hysteria: AI and the Humanities” these questions will be explore through two keynote addresses and a panel discussion. A first presentation by Dr. Charles Ess (University of Oslo) will review carebots, sexbots, “blessing robots,” theomorphic robots, chatbots, and pre-emptive policing systems.  Drawing on diverse perspectives from ethics, philosophical anthropology, and religious studies, he will show how these systems help us gain greater clarity regarding our basic assumptions regarding being human, love and sexuality, and our capacities for freedom and ethical judgment.

The second presentation by Amanda Lagerkvist (Uppsala University) will introduce the project BioMe: Existential challenges and ethical imperatives of biometric AI in everyday lifeworlds” (part of the WASP-HS project) which explores the risks and potentials of AI-driven biometric technologies – e.g., fingerprint scanners, voice and facial recognition systems, sensors monitoring heart rate, and so on from the perspective of existential media studies, which focuses on the relationships between our originary human technicity, embodied vulnerability and ethical responsibility.

As final of the event a panel discussion will follow, providing the opportunity to pursue these and related issues with the speakers and participants. Gavin Feller, postdoctoral fellow at Humlab, will moderate the discussion.


10:00 Intro to event + coffee

10:15-11:30 TALK: “Love, Sex, G*d, and Power: Being/becoming human in an AI world,” Charles Ess

11:30 – 12:30 Lunch (for registered before Nov 12)

12:30 – 14:00 TALK: “BioMe: a new project on AI as existential media”, Amanda Lagerkvist

14:00-14:30 Coffee break

14:30- 16:00 Panel discussion with Charles Ess and Amanda Lagerkvist moderated by Gavin Feller.



Amanda Lagerkvist is a media phenomenologist, an associate professor in media and communication Studies, and a research fellow at the Department of Informatics and Media at Uppsala University. Lagerkvist is also principal investigator of the Uppsala Informatics and Media Hub for Digital Existence: As Wallenberg Academy Fellow (2014-2018) she founded the emergent field of ‘existential media studies’. She is currently working on a monograph, Existential Media, contracted by OUP, which focuses the broader merits of existential philosophy for media studies in the context of the increasing digitalization of death and automation of the lifeworld. In her new project: “BioMe: Existential Challenges and Ethical Imperatives of Biometric AI in Everyday Lifeworlds” (starting 2020, and funded by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation within WASP-HS: she and her group will study the lived experiences of biometric AI, for example voice and face recognition technologies. She chairs the interdisciplinary research network DIGMEX, and she is the editor of Digital Existence: Ontology, Ethics and Transcendence in Digital Culture (Routledge, 2019) with a foreword by John D. Peters.

Charles M. Ess, (PhD, Pennsylvania State University, USA) is Professor in Media Studies, Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo. He works across the intersections of philosophy, computing, applied ethics, comparative philosophy and religious studies, and media studies, with emphases on research ethics, Digital Religion, virtue ethics, and social robots. Ess has published extensively on ethical pluralism, culturally-variable ethical norms and communicative preferences in cross-cultural approaches to Information and Computing Ethics, and their applications to everyday digital media technologies; the 3rd edition of his Digital Media Ethics will be published in early 2020. He serves as co-chair and editor of the forthcoming Internet Research Ethics Guidelines 3.0, Association of Internet Researchers. He currently explores possible complementarities between ethics and the social sciences, and their implications for applied ethics in ICT design and implementation, including social robots and AI. Ess is an ethics advisor and/or co-researcher in social robotics projects. He is a founding member of the International Association for Computing and Philosophy (IACAP) and served as President (2012-2016) of the International Society for Ethics in Information Technology (INSEIT).

Gavin Feller is a postdoctoral fellow at Humlab, Umeå University, interested in the intersection of media, religion, and technology. He is currently working on a book on Mormonism and 20th Century new media and conducting research on emerging video filtering technologies for religious audiences.

Dec 6: AI Friday – a Medical and Health Perspective on AI

Welcome to learn more about AI!

The AI Friday workshops are organised as part of the national effort AI Competence for Sweden aimed at increasing knowledge about AI.

Date: Friday December 6

Time: 12.00-15.00

Location: MIT-Place, the MIT-building

Host: Faculty of Medicine, Umeå University

If you register by December 4 latest at 10.00, you also get a sandwich and coffee, please, use this link.


12.00-12.30 Lunch sandwich
12.30-13.00 Welcome and introduction: AI Competence for Sweden @ UmU  Katrine Riklund, pro-vice-chancellor/professor Diagnostic Radiology, Helena Lindgren and Tommy Löfstedt, AI Competence for Sweden @ UmU work group
13.00-13.12 “Using AI for segmentation and quantification in medical ultrasound imaging”, Christer Grönlund, associate professor Radiation Physics/Medical Technology
13.12-13.24 Using hybrid PET/fMRI for simultaneous multimodal imaging of human brain function”, Lars Jonasson, post-doc Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB)
13.24-13.36 “UMeHealth as infrastructure for AI-based eHealth across Umeå university and regional healthcare providers”, Karin Wadell, professor Physiotherapy, UMeHealth
13.36-13.48 “Deep learning in medical imaging”, Tommy Löfstedt, senior research engineer Radiation Physics
13.48-14.00 Coffee break
14.00-14.12 “Ongoing projects related to risk prediction at the Department of Radiation Sciences – Current and planned data collections”, Sophia Harlid, senior research engineer Oncology
14.12-14.24 Title: “Compressive Sensing and Statistical Learning with Sparsity in MRI/PET measurements for cancer therapy assessment”, Jun Yu, professor Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics
14.24-14.36 “Rörelsemönster utifrån laboratoriebaserade data – potential för AI-applikationer”, Charlotte Häger, professor Physiotherapy
14.36-14.48 Title: TBA, Johan Trygg, professor Department of Chemistry
14.48-15.00 “Prediktiv modell för vårdtyngd och vårdtid på intensivvården”, Magnus Hultin, Institutionen för kirurgisk och perioperativ vetenskap, Centrum för AnOpIVA Västerbotten
15.00-15.15 Closing remarks

Nov 22: AI Friday – a Social Science Perspective on AI

Welcome to learn more about AI!

The AI Friday workshops are organised as part of the national effort AI Competence for Sweden aimed at increasing knowledge about AI.  Mark also November 29 and December 6 in your calendars!

Date: Friday November 22

Time: 9.15-15.00

Location: MIT-Place, the MIT-building

Host: Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå University

Register November 19 at the latest: Link


9:15 Welcome and introduction: AI Competence for Sweden @ UmU. Speakers: Gregory Neely, Pro Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Karin Danielsson, AI Competence for Sweden, Faculty of Social Sciences

9:30-9:45 Fundamentals of AI. AI for Cognitive Science students (Bachelor). Teaching a broad subject to a diverse group of 150+ students on campus. Speaker: Adam Dahlgren Lindström, Department of Computing Science, ICT Services and System Development

9:45-10:00 The Ethics of Handling Medical Emergencies with Artificial Intelligence. In this interactive presentation, we will explore a set of proposed ethical guidelines for the use of “black box” artificial intelligence in life-and-death medical emergencies. Speaker: Erik Campano, student

10:00-10:30 Coffee

10:30-10:45 Organizational change and data analytics – Exploring the implications of AI for management, control and governance. Speakers: Vasili Mankevich and Johan Sandberg, Department of Informatics

10:45-11:00 AI in business education: Insights from the marketing course. Speaker: Galina Biedenbach, Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics (USBE)

11:00-11:20 Statistical Learning (Machine Learning) in Courses for Social Science Students. Speaker: Maria Karlsson, Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics (USBE)

11:20-11:40 Negotiating Visibility – Interaction Beyond Explainable AI. Speaker: Mikael Wiberg, Department of Informatics

11:40-12:00 Distribution of lunch

12:00-12:15 Introduction: interdisciplinary panel. Moderator: Karin Danielsson

12:15-13:00 Panel (and lunch) Title: Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary AI-research


  • Faculty of Social Sciences: Jan Leidö, Department of Law
  • Faculty of Arts: Marlene Johansson Falck, Department of Language Studies
  • Faculty of Medicine: Jenny Persson, Department of Molecular Biology
  • Faculty of Science and Technology: Timotheus Kampik, Department of Computing Science

13:00-13:20 Feminism, Care and Artificial Intelligence. Speaker: Anna Croon, Department of Informatics

13:20-13:40 Using Machine Learning tools in applied research. Speaker: Anders Lundquist, Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics (USBE), Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB)

13:40-14:00 Artificial Intelligence from a pedagogical perspective. The presentation will give a pedagogical perspective on AI with two practical examples of ongoing research. Speaker: Eva Mårell-Olsson, Department of Applied Educational Science

14:00-14:20 Coffee

14:20-14:40 What you want to know: Using AI to predict and promote the interplay between human curiosity and knowledge acquisition. Speaker: Linus Holm, Department of Psychology

14:40-15:00 Final discussion and closure. Speaker: Karin Danielsson

Dec 12: AI Friday goes Thursday – AI Efforts beneficial to Industry and Society?

Massive Effort on AI research and Education, but what’s in it for industry and society?

Welcome to participate in a workshop where we will present ongoing local and national efforts to build competence in artificial intelligence (AI) in society, and to accelerate collaborations across academia and society to increase knowledge and innovation relating to AI.  A new project office for supporting collaborations relating to AI across academia and public and private organisations will be introduced, and we are also happy to present the most recent employed Professor on AI, Diego Calvanese, recruited as part of the massive efforts on AI at Umeå University.

We also invite public or private organisations, and staff at Umeå University, to present their common, ongoing projects relating to AI that they have together across academia, industry and/or public organisations. Also, if your company/public organisation has particular needs for collaboration with Umeå University, you are welcome to propose presentations regarding this. Please, propose this when you register for the day, but no later than Dec 10, at 10.00.

If you register by December 10 latest at 10.00, you also get a vegetarian sallad box and coffee, please, use this link.

Date: Thursday December 12, 2019

Time: 11.30-15.00

Location: MIT-Place, the MIT-building

Preliminary Schedule

11.30 – 13.10 AI competence developments

11.30 – 12.00 serving lunch sallad, welcome and Introduction to AI efforts at Umeå University and beyond

12.00-13.10 Presentations from AI Competence for Sweden activities and related efforts by among others Virginia Dignum, Juan Carlos Nieves, Thomas Kvist, Kalle Prorok and representatives from Volvo and IT-companies.

13.10-15.00 Efforts on AI Research beneficial to Industry and Society

13.10-13.20 Erik Elmroth, head of the Department of Computing Science: More on AI efforts at Umeå University and beyond,  a new project office for collaboration across academia and organisations in society, and introducing Umeå University’s most recently employed Professor on AI:

13.20-14.00 Professor Diego Calvanese: “Virtual Knowledge Graphs for Data Access and Integration”

Diego Calvanese is since November employed as a Wallenberg visiting Professor at the department of Computing Science, Umeå University. He is also full professor at the Research Centre for Knowledge and Data (KRDB), within the Faculty of Computer Science of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (Italy), where he teaches courses on knowledge bases, databases, data integration, ontologies, and theory of computing.  His research interests include formalisms for knowledge representation and reasoning, ontology-based data access and integration, description logics, Semantic Web, and data-aware process management.  He is the author of more than 350 refereed publications, including ones in the most prestigious venues in artificial intelligence and databases, with over 30.000 citations and an h-index of 69, according to Google Scholar.  In 2012-2013 he has been a visiting researcher at the Technical University of Vienna as Pauli Fellow of the “Wolfgang Pauli Institute”.  He has been the program chair of the 34th ACM Symposium on Principles of Database Systems (PODS-2015) and the general chair of the 28th European Summer School in Logic, Language and Information (ESSLLI-2016), and he will be the program co-chair of the 16th Int. Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KR-2020).  He is a Fellow of the European Association for Artificial Intelligence (EurAI).

14.00-15.00 Coffee and examples of needs, applications and collaborations.

Anneli Ågren, SLU: ” Improving sustainable spatial planning using maps developed by artificial intelligence”

Kenneth Bodin, Algoryx AB: ” Simulation driven machine autonomy”

Nina Sundström, CMTS, MT-FoU, Region Västerbotten: ” New methods based on AI for big data analysis within Biomedical Engineering”

Mats Johansson, UMIT, UmU: “Data-driven identification of bottlenecks and high-risk patients”

Lili Jiang, CS-UmU: ” Privacy Preservation and Machine Learning”

Frank Dignum, CS-UmU: ” Social theory, AI  and practice”

15.00 – 15.10 Summary and Closing

Host: Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå University

The AI workshops are organised as part of the national effort AI Competence for Sweden aimed at increasing knowledge about AI.

Oct 11: Development of Responsible AI

Do you want to know more about how to develop responsible AI? Andreas Theodorou will tell you more:

When: Fredag, 11 October, 13.00-13.45

Where: MIT-Place in MIT-huset

The seminars are part of the course ELSEC, organised through the AI Competence for Sweden initiative.

Oct 11: what are collaborative AI and explainable AI?

Do you want to know more about what collaborative AI and Explainable AI are? Helena Lindgren and Kary Främling will tell you more:

When: Fredag, 11 October

8.30-9.15: What is Collaborative AI? (Helena Lindgren)

9.15-10.00: Explainability (Kary Främling)

Where: MIT-Place in MIT-huset

The seminars are part of the course ELSEC, organised through the AI Competence for Sweden initiative.

Oct 4: Real AI is Social AI

Do you want to know more about what socialAI is? Frank Dignum will tell you more:

When: Fredag, 4 October, 13.00-13.45

Where: MIT-Place in MIT-huset

The seminar is part of the course ELSEC, organised through the AI Competence for Sweden initiative.

Oct 4: What is AI and Responsible AI?

Do you want to know more about what AI and responsible AI is? Juan Carlos Nieves and Virginia Dignum will tell you more:

When: Fredag, 4 October, 8.40-10.00

Where: MIT-Place in MIT-huset

The seminar is part of the course ELSEC, organised through the AI Competence for Sweden initiative.