Stories of Science
InDetail: how algorithms work up to their use in societyHow can a computer drive a car or write a news story? What will the impact of all these new techniques be on our lives? And how can we steer those techniques in the right direction? At InDetail, researcher Stefan Buijsman looks at all these questions, from the functioning of algorithms to their use in society.
reading time: 7 min
Algorithms: can you trust them or not? - TU Delft Story - Technology, Policy & Management“Algorithms do not discriminate inherently; the human factor is key – what data we put in, at what point we find an algorithm good enough, when we intervene, and how easy we make it to lodge objections to it.” Assistant professor Stefan Buijsman is exploring how we can use artificial intelligence responsibly. His attitude is positive: “I think that good interaction between AI and people can make our word fairer, cleaner, healthier, and safer.”
reading time: 8 min
Designing for darknessDays are short in December and January, but this does not mean darkness sets in early in the Netherlands. On cloudy nights, light pollution turns the night sky of Delft a bright orange. Let’s start designing for darkness, Dr Taylor Stone proposes in his research.
reading time: 9 min
Avoiding division in climate adaptationThe government has growing expectations of citizens when it comes to climate adaptation, but not every citizen or neighbourhood is able to live up to these expectations. Neelke Doorn, Professor of Ethics of Water Engineering, is studying ways of avoiding social divides between neighbourhoods.
reading time: 4 min
The responsibility gap with self-driving carsWho is responsible when self-driving cars are involved in accidents? Recently a self-driving Volvo in Arizona collided with a pedestrian who did not survive the accident. And in 2016 there was a fatal self-driving Tesla incident. Filippo Santoni de Sio of the TU Delft analyses the ethical issues around self-driving cars.
reading time: 6 min
Working proactively for safe gas networks in the NetherlandsDutch gas network operators increasingly face factors that affect the safety of the gas network, such as different qualities of gas that cannot simply be mixed, pipes that have to be replaced, new technologies and changes in the tasks and responsibilities of partners in the chain. Netbeheer Nederland, the sector organisation for all electricity and gas distribution network operators, wants to be able to respond proactively to these challenges, which is why Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) has been working since 2014 with Netbeheer Nederland and other stakeholders to exchange knowledge and identify issues. TPM researchers Genserik Reniers and Rolf Künneke are working on safety and regulation models, respectively, in order to guarantee the safety of gas distribution networks even under changing institutional and technological conditions.
reading time: 4 min
How to guarantee public values in crowd-based innovations?In today’s society, citizens are increasingly taking on a new role relative to the government and business community in the supply of products and services such as energy and transport. Examples include initiatives such as neighbours who join forces to purchase wind turbines, house swaps via Airbnb and transport using Uber. This can present challenges for the existing public structures, creating tension between the public sector and these initiatives. Who is actually responsible for what? How can you ensure that public values, such as equality, justice and privacy, can be guaranteed in these unregulated initiatives? “Questions like these take centre stage in the NWO Responsible Innovation project ‘Governing Crowd-based Innovation (CBI)”, says project leader Eefje Cuppen. “Although there has been previous research into these kinds of initiatives from an economic and innovation perspective, this approach is unique.”
reading time: 4 min
How do you ensure that changing norms and values are embedded in technical developments?Over time, norms and values change. When the internet was first developed, the idea was that all the information that was posted should be kept so that nothing would be lost. At the time, that was an important value. Nowadays, though, we want to give internet users the right to be forgotten, but the system is not geared up to doing this. How do you deal with this discrepancy? These kind of questions are tackled by Ibo van de Poel in his ERC project, in which he and his team are working on a philosophical theory on value change. Ibo van de Poel: “The aim is to create a theory of value change that helps designers develop technical systems that can deal with changing values.”
reading time: 3 min
Nuance in the quest for climate solutionsWith all the uncertainties we are facing, climate engineering (geoengineering) is not a desirable means of combating climate change, but in the future may well be an unavoidable one. Philosopher of technology Behnam Taebi uses an ethics-based approach to try to bring some nuance into the search for technological solutions. Using the Climate Action Hub, he wants to build a bridge between science, citizens and politicians.
reading time: 3 min
Blame culture an obstacle to safety in the chemical sectorEveryone knows small mistakes can have large consequences. Yet when things go wrong in the chemical industry the results can be disastrous, as the recent incident in Beirut shows. Genserik Reniers, Professor of Safety of Hazardous Materials at TU Delft, wants to put safety on the map better than today, in order for human suffering and economic losses to be minimised as much as possible: ‘There's a lot we can achieve relatively easy.’
reading time: 5 min