Building Blocks


Daniel Tijink

Chair Ethics

Platform PACE

The Participative And Constructive Ethics platform (PACE) is the place where ethics-related activities within or associated with the NL AIC are brought together. Late in 2020, the Human Centric AI building block produced a manifesto entitled ‘Human-Centric Artificial Intelligence: A call for sensible and responsible applications (in Dutch). PACE is a practical implementation of the principles in that manifesto. This means that the platform focuses on AI, its social and application environment, and on participatory and constructive ethics. Four themes are examined: (inter)national environment, methodology development, practical wisdom and ethics in organisations.

How does PACE work? 

The platform is a ‘learning community of practice’ – for learning with each other and from each other. Within that community, practical learning occurs across the boundaries of the various fields, organisations or projects, all underpinned by a common focus. That also demarcates what the community is about: not learning for learning’s sake, but learning things from practical situations that will have practical uses. The community aims to create an impact and draws its inspiration from practical situations. PACE is basically about two things: sharing knowledge and working together. 

Knowledge sharing 

The PACE platform participants meet up every six weeks. They tell each other about what they are doing and there is scope for a ‘special issue’. To date, these have included presentations by various existing or planned ELSA Labs, about the approaches to ethics called DEDA and ABE (in Dutch) (Aanpak Begeleidingsethiek = approach to guidance ethics), about applying ethics at a bank and a major IT player, and about the responsive hybrid intelligence research programme. Ethical developments in the Netherlands and abroad are also discussed. These meetings are popular and will continue to be a key element of the way the platform works. On top of that, people share articles, conference items and case studies, as well as working on joint products (details of which are also shared, of course). 


From the platform’s point of view, we see the four focal areas as its playing field: the various directions that the platform wants to develop in. There is a core team that monitors those four areas. Rather than setting up working groups for the main areas of interest, the platform has decided to concentrate on activities and products, as what we term ‘product groups’. Those are teams that collaborate to come up with a specific product that is useful for PACE: practical lessons, a scientific article, a communication tool, an improved method… These activities are in most cases very much an extension of the work that people are already doing. They may either be requested by the platform or as a response to a question from e.g. an application area or an ELSA Lab. At the moment, the following product groups are being set up: 

  • Workplace for ethical co-creation of AI 
  • Teaching responsible AI 
  • AI and ethics within the organisation
  • Maturity model for ethical AI 
  • External interaction 

There is a continuous dynamic, so new product groups will be added and others will disappear. 

Being part of it 

We very much welcome new participants to the community and are open to new knowledge and perspectives. If you are interested in attending a meeting about participatory and constructive ethics, or if you have suggestions or would you like to actively work with us on this highly relevant topic, please contact Edwin Borst. You can also take a look at the Ethics page or the position paper entitled ‘Ethics and AI in practice: Working together and learning together’. 

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