How soon can we defeat those complex brain disorders that, singularly or jointly, shorten millions of lives and wreck countless others?

The world is getting older. Not only geologically, but also anagraphically. And as the median life expectancy at birth increases, those of us that are alive are sleeping less. Public health institutions worldwide have, in fact, diagnosed epidemics of insomnia. These two factors are contributing to an increase in comorbidity in those affected by Complex Brain Disorders (CoBraD) such as Neurocognitive Dementia (i.e. Alzheimer’s Disease) and Epilepsy.

Despite technological progress and advances in medical sciences, we are still unable to pinpoint the exact cause of these disorders and, thus, to solve them at scale. But today, thanks to the vast availability of clinical and consumer data from multiple, real world sources, it is possible to develop a novel, AI-based Multidisciplinary Expert System (MES) for improving diagnostic accuracy and therapeutic outcomes for those suffering from CoBraD.

The project aims to develop such a technology and test it in a series of pilots in EEA countries. Patients who participate will share personal and highly sensitive data, which will be collected and processed necessarily by the AI system.

Throughout this process, CyberEthics Lab. will support the consortium in dealing with multidisciplinary concerns, which the project unequivocally raises, by issuing and seeing enforced ethical guidelines for the research process. Furthermore, through its proprietary methodology that combines ethical and legal approaches, CyberEthics Lab. aims to verify whether the project’s technologies are in line with existing regulations and therefore to contribute to the development of a standard for the ethics of AI in health care research. Thanks to its holistic approach and technological know-how, CyberEthics Lab. will create a helpdesk for the project and also assess its sex and gender impacts.

Service involved

Assessment of technology impact on privacy
We help our clients and partners to achieve their business goals while addressing ethics, privacy and cybersecurity concerns in a manner that prevents conflicts, sanctions and loss of money derived by the lack of ethical and legal compliance to national and European applicable regulations. All information technologies must respect human fundamental rights and ensure the rights of people in relation to the protection of their private life, personal data and freedom. The new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that replaced the Data Protection Directive in all EU member states on May 2018 introduces many new obligations for companies and a comprehensive set of rights for data subjects, including the right to an effective judicial remedy against a controller or a processor and the right to compensation. Therefore, in addition to being at the receiving end of an enforcement action, data controllers and processors may be subject to court proceedings and have to pay compensation to data subjects for their infringements of the GDPR. Our approach to help our clients to avoid this kind of issues consists of a holistic service composed by the following main components: providing a Data Protection Officer to drive the organization’s legal compliance action; mapping the data processed by the organisation to measure its impact on the ethical principles and legal framework; assessing the cybersecurity mechanisms used by the organisation technologies; conducting an impact assessment for all data processing mechanisms identifying ethical, legal and security risks; making recommendations for the implementation of the organisational and technical means to be compliant with the legal framework while ensuring data confidentiality (preserving authorized restrictions on information access and disclosure, including personal privacy and proprietary information protection), integrity (assurance that data is not modified or deleted in an unauthorized and undetected manner), availability (ensuring there’s timely and reliable access to and use of information) and accountability (supporting non‐repudiation, deterrence, fault isolation, intrusion detection and prevention, and after‐action recovery and legal action).
Social acceptance of technologies assessment
Connected, disruptive technologies permeate all aspects of our daily lives and pose challenges to the real foundation of human rights, such as the right to privacy or the freedom of speech. One could say that human values such as trust, accountability, and dignity are mutually influenced by the social acceptance of technologies. We support our clients to conceive a novel way of aligning the thus-far divergent concepts of sustainability, ethics impact, and technological innovation. By combining these three concepts, we respond to the need of a socially responsible innovation ecosystem by developing a tailored methodology for assessing users’/citizens’ social acceptance of technologies, a fundamental driver for technology market adoption. Our social acceptance framework includes six fundamental dimensions over which social acceptability (i.e. perception, motivation, trust, awareness, capacity enabling, and accountability) is measured and assessed through a two-step approach based on an online Sentiment Analysis (SA) – to create structured and actionable knowledge from the web – and the engagement of our client’s stakeholders (e.g. relevant target groups, associations of citizens, domain operators, decision makers, etc.) for the technology co-creation and communication regarding its social acceptance.
Responsible Research & Innovation
We love discovering and staying on top of new research to continuously advance our knowledge and to transform it into responsible innovation, taking into account effects and potential impacts on ethics, privacy and data protection. We help national and international partners to handle ethical, legal and cybersecurity concerns on both the research process and the project outcomes, through the legal support for the involvement of human beings in the research activity, the analysis of the national and regional legal framework applicable to the implementing technology and the recommendations for the secure and compliant development of technology. We are a multidisciplinary team that promotes the inclusion of legal and ethical concerns in the design of the technology, researching and producing new knowledge and best practices towards making a conscious and transparent adoption of technology.