Human-Centred AI: Enabling & Facilitating a Climate for Change

Great Capabilities to Improve

Integrated ecosystems sustain life and provide us with an amazing habitat. People and the ecosystems we live in, in this Digital Age, have great capabilities to improve and sustain the quality of life for all.

As we face and urgently need to deal with many societal challenges, we need a climate for change. Various of such societal challenges (figure 1) can be identified in the domains of manufacturing, supply chains, logistics, maintenance and related industry domains.

As these domains will remain essential parts of our society and economy, a climate for change in these essential parts of our ecosystems is needed as well. Safe, trusted and trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other or related knowledge, processes, technologies, human intelligence and experience may be an excellent enabler and facilitator to help cater for and sustain such future-proof ecosystems.

The whole supply ecosystem, including sourcing, engineering, manufacturing, assembling, logistics and the like, as well as the related organisations, professionals, partners and customer involved, and the respective societies, ecology and economy can benefit from access to, use and exchange of data, information, knowledge and experience. Digital platforms, AI, intelligent systems, cognitive (edge and IoT) computing, robotic process automation (RPA), cobots, distributed intelligence and autonomous systems are further expediting this process by connecting, inter-connecting respectively hyper-connecting organizations, individuals, communities, societies and data with tens of billions of objects and entities.

Where To Start?

Where To Start?

What can an entrepreneur, company, sector, community or other groups in manufacturing, industry and related sectors and domains do to create overall positive impact while also having a viable and economically sustainable value model, with related business models and (financial and other) feasibility models to get things both started, going, trusted, growing, scaling, resilient and future-proof? Having a big vision and focusing on the horizon is important, but having a clear starting point is one of the main prerequisite success factors.

With that in mind, it is recommended to start with identifying and establishing the particular challenge(s) one would like to focus on, for instance by using the 12 Societal Challenges for Future of Living, as visualised below (Figure 1). These are in line with both the vision of the European Commission as well as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These Societal Challenges are obviously intertwined and interconnected.

Figure 1: Intertwined Societal Challenges for Future of Living

Let’s have a closer look to Societal Challenges: Demography respectively Skills & Jobs. Where and why may AI in Industry 5.0 context be valuable, appreciated and even necessary? First some backgrounds:

1. Societal Challenge Nr. 4: Demography

Within the European Union, there is a decline in working-age population. It’s expected to reduce by 13.5 million (or 4%) by 2030 compared to 2018. This, as the EU population size will shrink by 5% between 2019 and 2070, to 424 million inhabitants, the development of shorter working weeks could cause a 2% reduction in labour supply.

The EU’s demographic ratio between people above 65 years old and those aged 20-64 are expected to increase from a one-to-four ratio 2010, to a one-to-(less than)-two in 2070.

2. Societal Challenge Nr. 11: Skills & Jobs

According to the OECD, 65% of the kids in schools today will have jobs that haven’t been invented yet. This indicates that we apparently are not yet sure what the future will look like, but that we do for sure acknowledge society will look very differently in a decade. The World Economic Forum points out that among the top 10 most essential skills of the near future are: analytical thinking, empathy, creativity, reasoning, complex problem-solving, self-management, and technology development and use.

Clearly, this list resembles a more intertwined combination of both the right part of the brain with the left part, than currently commonly seems the case.

These two Societal Challenges and backgounds already demonstrate that AI in Industry 5.0 context may be valuable, appreciated and even necessary to address these societal challenges in industry and related society and economy:

  • When focusing on the Societal Challenge of Demography, combining and deploying innovative processes, data and technologies to augment the capabilities of people, industry, supply side and demand side can be a helpful mechanism to compensate this expected decrease in productivity and levels of welfare and quality of life.
  • When focusing on the Societal Challenge of Skills & Jobs, three questions that come to mind are (i) how will the future of work change the industrial sector, and the looks of our urban and rural societies, (ii) how to keep the veins of trade and human values running through our communities, and (iii) whether technology will displace more jobs in 10 years than it creates, or vice versa. With all these questions raised, what role will and can AI play in combination with human interaction?

Human-centric AI capabilities for Industry 5.0

The above does not only demonstrate that there are huge potential and markets for AI and related intelligent systems. It also demonstrates that there is a need for AI- and other technology-supported H2M, M2H, H2M2M and other interaction, communication and cooperation to help address the current and upcoming challenges, avoid social disruption, and improve social prosperity.

Safe, trusted and trustworthy human-centred AI with human and other European and universal values embedded by design can in our view for sure be a great component for enabling and facilitating a future-proof Climate for Change in the Industry 5.0 and related domains. This is exactly why STAR can accelerate the transition towards human-centric AI in manufacturing, and beyond.

With this, the European stakeholders, society and economy can build, deploy, use, enjoy and even export the most trustworthy human-centric AI for Industry 5.0 and related digital (eco)systems and services all over the world. As Commissioner Breton formulates: ‘Europe has everything it takes to lead the technology race’. In our own words: Europe has great capabilities.

But how to make that work? We will discuss this in our subsequent blogs, so please stay tuned.

Blog by Arthur van der Wees, Arthur’s Legal, Strategies & Systems

Sense & Sensibility

In Health, Care & Cure, in this Digital Age

Sensible Healthy Living

Humans are quite resilient. Sometimes, however, one may need some help.

One of the essentials for resiliency is healthy living, also when one feels ill, has gone sick, recovered or otherwise needs care and other support to retain or improve towards a decent level of quality of life, in every phase of life. Health, wellness, prevention, care, cure and post-cure care go hand in hand.

Can these be improved with the capabilities of this Digital Age? If so; what makes sense, what does not, and how to stay fully aligned with human values? This, as it is all about improving the quality of life of people and society in general, and individuals in particular.


The last decades quite a few have been focusing on the letters e- or m- before healthcare; e-health, m-health and other attempts to introduce technology as the silver bullet in health, care and cure domains.

This technology-centred approach has proven not to be very successful. We believe that the reason is quite clear; the focal point is totally off-topic. Trying to improve quality of life is something else than trying to push as many devices, systems and digital services as possible. Focusing on technology alone makes no sense whatsoever.

The various domains of healthy living do not only concern an abstract human being or treatment protocol. It concerns real individuals, each with its own backgrounds, dreams, particularities and ethics. Each individual will have many persona during its life; regarding healthy living, it can be young, middle-aged or older, professional or amateur sporter, an injured one, a short term or longer term patient, or somebody else that needs special care or other attention for a period of time that differs per individual and per relevant (complex of) personas. Healthy living is personal.

Trust Anchors

However, healthy living is not merely about such persona. It’s also about the many professional caregivers (social, home and other), physicians, doctors, hospitals, health service providers, home care insurance companies, policy makers, agencies and authorities as well as friends and families of the individual, and society at large. These diverse groups of stakeholders are – or should be – trust anchors for any individual that needs care, cure or post-cure care.

The multi-stakeholder-centric approach should also be taken when considering and implementing any capabilities of this Digital Age in the essential yet complex healthy living domain. Such as, for instance, processing of digital data.

This, also as these individuals are vulnerable when that they need care, support and attention. For once, as per their particular health situation but also as per lack of sufficient knowledge and the lower ability (and willingness) to process information in a normal, rational way. They need continuous support by professionals, including professionals in the interdisciplinary convergence of health, data & digital.

Ethical Dilemma

As an example, let’s consider any wearable connected to the internet in some way.

This is one of the reasons why the European project ASCAPE has received funding to work on the above-mentioned interdisciplinary human-centric approach, in particular to explore where and how certain digital capabilities can support cancer patients and improve their quality of life.

The connected device and related software-converted algorithms (including certain artificial intelligence) could help monitor certain health properties of an individual, for instance by sensing and processing those and digitally sharing these with its health professional. Do you believe that such vulnerable individual can freely give consent for the measuring and data sharing? Does such person have a genuine choice to withhold it? How can it independently balance out short and long health impact and short- and long-term privacy impact?

Under the GDPR ‘consent’ by an individual means any ‘freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing or personal data relating to him or her’. Consent should cover each of the processing activities carried out, per purpose. For consent to be informed, the data subject should be at least aware of the identity of the data controller and the purposes of the processing for which the personal data are intended. So, what would be your human-centric ethical call in this example? Who would you need to help out with giving well-informed advice to such individual within your professional ethical conduct?

Updated Multi-stakeholders Spectrum

It is clear that adding an updated multi-stakeholders spectrum as additional trust anchors to the interdisciplinary human-centric approach is a prerequisite. Doing so in a technology-neutral and technology-agnostic way is preferred. We believe that this is the only way to make any digitalization in the healthy living domains a success.

But, where to practically start from this perspective of interdisciplinary human-centricity? We believe it starts with transparency in general, and with that with awareness in particular.

Trust starts with Awareness

Trust is not a five-letter word. It is remarkable how little ‘trust’ has been researched, written and clarified, where there are quite a lot dimensions and nuances of trust. Although not the only approach, for this article we would like to highlight the following five phases towards trust, acknowledging that trust equals consistency over time so can be quite dynamic:

  • Awareness: To become aware to be able to build and achieve the appropriate level of trust is obvious, but not that easy. Have insufficient knowledge is generally seen as a blocking factor that is even more essential than concerns about security, privacy or compliance. Insufficient knowledge for instance means a lack of access to relevant information, and the lack of clarity and readability of supplied information. The phase of becoming (more and more) aware is a continuous one.
  • Understanding: Understanding may follow during or after one has become aware. Having things explained does not mean one understands. So, there is a clear distinction between explanation and understanding.
  • Appreciation: If one understands, it could mean that one has a certain level of appreciation, which would be of course the result of multiple considerations, including benefits, risks, impact and risk appetite.
  • Adoption: As mentioned, trust means consistency over time so the fact that one starts to adopt certain capabilities in the Digital Age does not yet mean the appropriate level of trust has already been met – and will continue to be met –.
  • Acceptance: The same goes for the acceptance phase, but in this phase the individual has chosen to trust it.

I Am Data, Therefore I Am

Trust can be catered for in many ways, including by demonstrating trustworthiness and accountability, both before, during and after deployment and use of any device, system or digital service. In this Digital Age, however, one should not forget that human-centricity also means that one needs to have the data-centric perspective into the core of each consideration, especially in the Healthy Living domain.

This, if one treats the individuals as mere data points, trust will not even start to build; let alone take-up and scale-up of any digitally-enhanced capability.

When thinking about personal data, it is quite simple. It’s personal. It’s only provided for to be processed and protected by accountable custodians, for a single, clear purpose only. If we are able to create, build, nurture and cater for such interdisciplinary human-centric, transparent and trustworthy digital means, as an aid for individuals in Health Living that respect and protect the human values of each person – including but not limited to privacy, security, safety and accountability –, we have a global market of almost 8 billion individuals that we can help to improve their quality of life.

Projects such as ASCAPE explore these success factors in real-life pilots in multiple countries; what does makes sense, and what is sensible, in which situation and context, et cetera. It is crucial that all stakeholders involved will be able to trust the relevant digital capabilities, including devices, data, algorithms, software, digital ecosystems and services. Awareness, understanding, appreciation, adoption, acceptance are also essential for such stakeholders to work on.

Healthy Living that Makes Sense is a Team Sport

If we as interdisciplinary team players achieve the appropriate level of trust and trustworthiness – the level where things really start to make sense –, it will not only help the particular individual but meanwhile and after also the health professionals to provide better care, cure and post-cure care to other individuals. It’s truly a team sport.

October 2021. Blog by Arthur van der Wees, Arthur’s Legal, Strategies & Systems