Human-Centric AI


AI is a revolutionary technology that will transform how we live and how we work. With AI technology developing at a tremendous pace, there is an urgent need to learn how to harness its power for human good, to understand the ethical and social implications of AI, and to ensure that new technologies are designed, deployed and used both safely and responsibly. "Human-centric AI" research at Sheffield seeks to address these challenges.  

Researchers are tackling specific research questions including:

How AI systems can help us to live better and more sustainably? What systems can we build for better social and healthcare systems? How can we ensure that new AI systems are safe and secure?  How can we ensure systems do not exclude certain sections of society?  What algorithms are fair and transparent? What regulation is required and where and how do we build and deploy regulated systems?  What will be the impact of AI technologies on society and how will society adapt?

These are complex questions and challenges that benefit most from interdisciplinary collaboration. The CMI works to bring researchers with expertise in the social sciences and humanities together with technology experts and AI researchers in STEM subjects.  

See below for a list of research groups at Sheffield currently working on questions relating to Human-centric AI and initiatives our researchers are engaged with.

Abstract image of a human brain surrounded by data

Human-Centric AI Research at Sheffield

There are outstanding researchers at Sheffield working on many of these questions and problems in our institutes and research groups, including:

The South Yorkshire Digital Health Hub (SYDHH) - Improving people's health and quality of life by developing digital health tools to integrate data from daily life with routine NHS data. The SYDHH is also building a network of patients, doctors, health professionals, industry representatives, academics and members of the public across South Yorkshire, linked to the rest of the UK.

Data Connect - a University of Sheffield service to improve researcher access to health and social care data, and working with people and service providers of South Yorkshire to improve health outcomes across the region.

The Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare (CATCH) - to research, develop, evaluate and implement new technologies to enable people to live well and age well.

Sheffield Robotics - researchers are working on a number of human centric AI themes including human-robot interaction, medical and assistive robotics, field robotics and agri-tech, safe collaborative robotics - particularly in manufacturing, cognitive robotics and laws and ethics.

Disinformation Research Cluster - The Disinformation Research Hub in the Department of Journalism Studies is called to tackle the issues that arise from the global disinformation disorder. We share interests in studying the causes and consequences of disinformation, particularly, in the digital space. 

Social Media and Disinformation research group - (Computer Science) uses large-scale text analysis with the GATE open-source platform (aka AI or more specifically, natural language processing) to gain valuable quantitative insights from large volumes of social media content, to help answer important open questions around the use and implications for society of social media.

Security of Advanced Systems Group - (Computer Science) this group carries out research in AI for cybersecurity. Threat modelling, security policies, covert channel analysis, cryptographic building blocks, intrusion detection, insider detection, and automated synthesis of security protocols.  

The Digital Humanities Institute - the UK's leading centre for digital humanities, supporting the innovative use of technology and computation in arts and humanities research as both a method of inquiry and a means of dissemination.

Music Mind Machine research centre offers a platform for researchers and students to investigate musical experience from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining theories and methods from music, psychology, social sciences and computational sciences.

Living With Data - a programme of research which aim to understand what it’s like to live with data and related phenomena like AI and automation.

The Urban Flows Observatory - developing a globally leading understanding of the flows of energy and resources to support  the creation of sustainable, healthy, happy cities.

iHuman - brings together social sciences and humanities with psychological and biological research to understand what it means to be human.

Science, Technology and Medicine in Society (STeMiS), Everyday Life and Critical Diversities and Social Inequalities and Social Ordering research clusters and Digital Media + Society research area (Sociological Studies) - bring together many digital media scholars & sociologists working on digital technology and inequality, discrimination, ethics, rights.

Our researchers are also engaged in various national initiatives to address human-centric AI, including:

The ESRC Digital Good Network (DGN) - the DGN is building a research community focused on what a good digital society should look like and how we get there. The DGN focuses on: equity (how can we make sure digital technologies contribute towards a more equitable society?), sustainability (how can we make the digital future more sustainable?) and resilience (how can the digital world be shaped to ensure that digital technologies enhance wellbeing?)

The UKRI Trustworthy and Autonomous Systems (TAS) Hub - the TAS works to establish a collaborative platform for the UK to enable the development of socially beneficial autonomous systems that are both trustworthy in principle and trusted in practice by individuals, society and government.

A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.