• Research

World-first: Sorbonne University launches Democratic Commons, a ground-breaking French initiative that positions AI at the service of democracy

On May 24, 2024, at the Vivatech tech and startup fair, Sorbonne University, Make.org, Sciences Po and CNRS announced the launch of the "Democratic Commons" research program. This innovative project aims to develop open-source generative artificial intelligence solutions to strengthen democratic foundations on a global scale.

In the context of weakening democracies, the "Democratic Commons" program aims to create a sphere of trust through controlled and ethical AI. The project brings together over 50 researchers and engineers for a two-year period, with the aim of developing a scientific framework applied to democratic principles in AI. This includes a model for assessing the biases of large language models (LLMs), debiased LLMs and citizen participation platforms in line with these principles.

This initiative benefits from the expertise of the world's leading specialists in ethical AI: Hugging Face, Aspen Institute, Mozilla.ai, Project Liberty Institute and Genci. In addition, a scientific supervisory board has been set up to oversee the work, comprising leading scientists including Raja Chatila, Professor Emeritus of Robotics, AI and Ethics at Sorbonne University.

Supported by France 2030's "Digital Commons" program and financed with 6 million euros by Bpifrance, this project represents a significant step forward in the research and application of AI for democracy.
It reaffirms France's expertise in artificial intelligence on the international stage, and its historic role in protecting human rights and safeguarding democracy. Thanks to the "Democratic Commons" program, states and cities the world over will be able to benefit free of charge from artificial intelligence that respects democratic principles.

With "Democratic Commons," Sorbonne University is once again utilizing the excellence of its research to create more democratic and safer AI. This project is all the more important in view of the upcoming European elections.

Nathalie Drach-Temam, President of Sorbonne University