• Six UK-Japan projects to investigate multiple, uncertain and wide-ranging effects of artificial intelligence (AI) on people’s lives
  • Could AI be used to make healthcare and legal decisions, could it transform and automate housework, or could legal liability change in accidents between humans and autonomous vehicles?
  • The three-year projects, worth £2.4m and ¥180m, started this month
  • The Alan Turing Institute will collaborate with RIKEN on one of the projects, to jointly study the values of privacy, agency, and trust from a comparative and intercultural perspective looking at both Japan and the UK

UKRI recently announced (on 22 January) six innovative projects set to uncover the multiple, uncertain and wide-ranging impacts Artificial Intelligence (AI) could have on our society, culture and economy.

The projects will boost our understanding of how AI technologies affect people’s lives, from its use in healthcare to its potential to transform housework, and the ethics of using AI to make legal decisions.

The projects cover a wide range of topics including its effects on our happiness and wellbeing, its economic implications for skills, work and education, to the transparency, responsibility, governance and ethics of using AI.

This includes one between The Alan Turing Institute and RIKEN—Japan's largest comprehensive research institution— is PATH-AI: Mapping an Intercultural Path to Privacy, Agency, and Trust in Human-AI Ecosystems. It will jointly study the values of privacy, agency, and trust from a comparative and intercultural perspective looking at both Japan and the UK.

Ultimately, the goal of the research is to initiate a truly inclusive and international conversation on the difficult issues surrounding the global AI ethics and governance landscape. UK-based and Japan-based researchers will work together very closely, providing the basis for a strong and far-reaching UK-Japan research collaboration.

Commenting on the announcement, David Leslie, one of the project’s Principle Investigators and the Turing’s Ethics Theme Lead and Ethics Fellow in the public policy programme said:

“As the UK’s national institute for data science and AI, the Turing is committed to tackling society’s biggest challenges by advancing world-class research and applying it to real-world problems. Part of doing this responsibly involves acknowledging that these problems often don’t have borders, and neither do the innovations in AI and data science that we develop to address them.

“We are extremely excited to take a step toward steering the direction of innovation and technology policy on a global stage in collaboration with our Japanese colleagues from RIKEN. Our project will include a comparative investigation of key concepts and empirical problems in Japanese and British contexts, a commissioned art exchange based on this research and public engagement, and the unique co-design of an interculturally-informed governance framework for responsible AI innovation.

“We are very grateful to UK Research and Innovation as well as to the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council for making this important and exciting research possible.”

The projects have been funded through UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Fund for International Collaboration (FIC) in a joint UK-Japan initiative. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), both part of UKRI, contributed £2.4m via FIC, while the Japanese Science and Technology Agency (JST) contributed ¥180m. 

The projects will each run for three years beginning in January 2020.


For media enquiries, contact [email protected] or Tamera Jones, 0734 202 5443, [email protected]



  1. Read the full press release: https://ahrc.ukri.org/newsevents/news/uk-japanese-projects-to-explore-effects-of-ai-on-society-and-economy/
  2. Project summaries:
    • Ensuring the benefits of AI in healthcare for all: Designing a Sustainable Platform for Public and Professional Stakeholder Engagement - Professor Jane Kaye of the University of Oxford, and Professor Beverley Anne Yamamoto of Osaka University
    • PATH-AI: Mapping an Intercultural Path to Privacy, Agency, and Trust in Human-AI Ecosystems - Dr David Leslie of The Alan Turing Institute, and Professor Hiroshi Nakagawa of RIKEN
    • Legal Systems and Artificial Intelligence - Professor Simon Deakin of the University of Cambridge, and Professor Mihoko Sumida of Hitotsubashi University
    • DomesticAI: The Future of Unpaid Work: AI's potential to transform unpaid domestic work in the UK and Japan - Dr Ekaterina Hertog of the University of Oxford, and Professor Nobuko Nagase of Ochanomizu University
    • Rule of Law in the Age of AI: Principles of Distributive Liability for Multi-Agent Societies - Dr Phillip Morgan of Cardiff University, and Associate Professor Tatsuhiko Inatani of Kyoto University
    • Emotional AI in Cities: Cross Cultural Lessons from UK and Japan on Designing for An Ethical Life - Professor Andrew John McStay of Bangor University, and Professor Peter Mantello of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
  3. The researchers involved in the PATH-AI project between The Alan Turing Institute and RIKEN include:
  4.  UKRI-JST Joint Call on Artificial Intelligence and Societyhttps://esrc.ukri.org/files/funding/funding-opportunities/ukri-jst-call-specification/
  5. Japanese Science and Technology Agency - https://www.jst.go.jp/EN/
  6. UK Research and Innovation works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.  

    Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.