NEH Announces New Research Initiative: Humanities Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence
Today, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is announcing a major new research initiative, Humanities Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence. Under this agency-wide initiative, NEH will support research projects that seek to understand and address the ethical, legal, and societal implications of artificial intelligence (AI). NEH is particularly interested in projects that explore the impacts of AI-related technologies on truth, trust, and democracy; safety and security; and privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.
AI is one of the most powerful technologies of our time. Questions about the ethical, legal, and societal implications of AI are fundamentally rooted in the humanities, which include ethics, law, history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, media studies, and cultural studies. Indeed, NEH’s founding legislation tasks the agency with making the American people “masters of their technology and not its unthinking servants.”
NEH’s Humanities Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence initiative is in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence, which establishes new standards for AI safety and security, protects Americans’ privacy, and advances equity and civil rights. NEH’s investment in AI research also aligns with the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities on research and development (R&D) on AI, as outlined in the White House’s National AI R&D Strategic Plan released earlier this year.
“The rapid development of artificial intelligence has far-reaching consequences for American society, culture, and democracy,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “The humanities provide the ethical compass and historical context to help us understand the full implications of AI technologies, giving both creators and users of AI the necessary tools to navigate its risks and rewards responsibly, critically, and deliberately.”
NEH’s Humanities Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence initiative will support numerous AI-related humanities projects through the following funding opportunities:
- Universities or independent research organizations considering establishing a research center that focuses on humanistic AI research should consider NEH’s newest grant program, Humanities Research Centers on Artificial Intelligence. This funding opportunity offers up to $750,000 to support the creation of humanities research centers focusing on the ethical, legal, or societal implications of artificial intelligence.
- Individual scholars or scholarly teams based at an institution (e.g., colleges and universities) may consider Dangers and Opportunities of Technology: Perspectives from the Humanities. Independent scholars or those affiliated with an institution may apply to Fellowships, Awards for Faculty at HBCUs, HSIs, and TCUs, Summer Stipends, or Public Scholars.
- Collaborative teams interested in planning for an international AI research project or hosting a scholarly convening about AI should consider Collaborative Research.
- Institutions interested in hosting professional development programs on the latest research related to humanistic AI should consider Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities.
National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.