Human-centricity in AI governance: A systemic approach

Anton Sigfrids (Corresponding Author), Jaana Leikas, Henrikki Salo-Pöntinen, Emmi Koskimies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Human-centricity is considered a central aspect in the development and governance of artificial intelligence (AI). Various strategies and guidelines highlight the concept as a key goal. However, we argue that current uses of Human-Centered AI (HCAI) in policy documents and AI strategies risk downplaying promises of creating desirable, emancipatory technology that promotes human wellbeing and the common good. Firstly, HCAI, as it appears in policy discourses, is the result of aiming to adapt the concept of human-centered design (HCD) to the public governance context of AI but without proper reflection on how it should be reformed to suit the new task environment. Second, the concept is mainly used in reference to realizing human and fundamental rights, which are necessary, but not sufficient for technological emancipation. Third, the concept is used ambiguously in policy and strategy discourses, making it unclear how it should be operationalized in governance practices. This article explores means and approaches for using the HCAI approach for technological emancipation in the context of public AI governance. We propose that the potential for emancipatory technology development rests on expanding the traditional user-centered view of technology design to involve community- and society-centered perspectives in public governance. Developing public AI governance in this way relies on enabling inclusive governance modalities that enhance the social sustainability of AI deployment. We discuss mutual trust, transparency, communication, and civic tech as key prerequisites for socially sustainable and human-centered public AI governance. Finally, the article introduces a systemic approach to ethically and socially sustainable, human-centered AI development and deployment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number976887
JournalFrontiers in Artificial Intelligence
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


This article was written in the research project Ethical AI for the Governance of the Society (ETAIROS, Grant Number 327356) and funded by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland.


  • artificial intelligence
  • human-centered
  • ethics
  • governance
  • collaboration
  • social sustainability
  • AI for the commong good


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