Research

META aims at the enhancement of the humanities and social sciences at the Politecnico di Milano through the development of research on cutting-edge issues in philosophy and sociology of science and technology. An important aspect of the projects carried out by the members of META is the interdisciplinary collaboration with colleagues from various departments of the Politecnico di Milano as well as from other national and international universities.

The members of the Steering Committee work on several topics in the following areas:

  • Epistemology
  • Ethics of Technology and Engineering
  • Philosophy of Science and Technology
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Sociology of Knowledge

FUNDED PROJECTS

  • BRIO – Bias, Risk, Opacity in AI: Design, Verification and Development of Trustworthy AI. Funded by PRIN 2021, the BRIO project aims at investigating means to avoid bias, mitigating risk and overcoming opacity. The notion of trustworthiness lies at the core of the European ethical approach to artificial intelligence (AI). To design, verify and develop trustworthy AI (TAI) is the main goal of the BRIO project, financed by the Italian Ministry of Research. More precisely, this project focuses on developing design criteria for TAI based on philosophical analyses of trust combined with their symbolic formalization and technical implementation. The analysis of the epistemological and ethical components of trust, Objective 1 of the BRIO Project, is led by META. Funding period: June 2022-June 2025 (PI: Viola Schiaffonati, Daniele Chiffi). More info available here.
  • VINCE: Vetting Implicit Normativity in Climate Economics. Funded by HORIZON-MSCA-PF-2021, the project addresses the inherent presence of value judgments in current integrated assessment models (IAMs) of climate change impacts. Though widely used to inform public policy, many aspects of IAM design and use require making assumptions of an implicitly normative nature: assumptions that are ultimately about the values that individuals and communities ought to pursue. This raises a host of philosophical and methodological questions, for which an interdisciplinary approach is required. Funding period: June 2023-May 2025 (PI: Francesco Nappo).

  • Addressing online scientific misinformation in high schools. Funded by Fondazione Cariplo, this project addresses the spread of online scientific and technological misinformation within high schools. The aim of the project is two-fold: identifying the sociotechnical factors that influence the willingness of young generations to accept unreliable scientific and technological information as valid; experimenting with innovative tools and practices that will help high school students to master online information flows and to easily discern between reliable and unreliable information. Funding period: May 2022-November 2024 (PI: Paolo Volonté).

  • SCRAPS: writing the Sleep CRisis: 24/7 cAPitalism and neoliberal Subjectivity.  Funded under the H2020-MSCA-IF-2019, this project aims to investigate cultural engagements with the public health issue of sleep disorders, by considering twenty-first-century Anglophone fiction, non-fiction, and digital culture to advance our understanding of the impact of neoliberal ideologies on health. Funding period: September 2021-August 2024 (PI: Diletta De Cristofaro. Supervisor: Simona Chiodo). More info available here.

  • FPH: Fair Predictions in Health Care. Funded under the H2020-MSCA-IF-2019, this project deals with ethical and philosophical issues concerning algorithmic fairness in machine learning, which arise in connection with the attempt to enhance diagnosis, therapy choice, and effectiveness of the health system. Funding period: September 2021-September 2023 (PI: Michele Loi. Supervisor: Giovanni Valente). More info available here.

  • Social factors and processes that influence the acceptance of refused scientific knowledge. Funded under the PRIN 2017 funding scheme, this project addresses bodies of “scientific knowledge” that are excluded from the field of institutional science and represent therefore a terrain of contention between the communities of practices that support them and orthodox scientific communities. By means of a mixed-method approach, processes of legitimation, frames of circulation and dynamics of acceptance of refused knowledge are investigated. Funding period: September 2019-February 2023 (PI: Stefano Crabu).

  • From Models to Decisions. Funded under the PRIN 2017, this project aims to explain the epistemic value of uncertain scientific models, and how they guide rational decisions. The research unit at PoliMi investigates how models are constructed in statistical physics and related disciplines with a strong decision component, such as climate science and econophysics. Funding period: December 2019-December 2022 (Local PI: Giovanni Valente).

  • Ethics and emerging technologies. Funded by Fondazione Scientifica Tronchetti Provera, this project aims to explore the possibility of permanently integrating the study of social impact and ethical implications of technological development in research projects on emerging technologies. In particular, the project is focused on three areas of current technological innovation: advanced automotive and autonomous vehicles; AI in biomedical technologies; crowd expertise in media technologies. Funding period: December 2020-November 2021 (PM: Paolo Volonté).

  • From Causality to the Fundamental Structure of the World: Time and Ontology in Quantum Field Theory. Funded by the FWF Der Wissenschaftsfonds, this project addresses open philosophical problems in physics concerning time and ontology, which stem from Einstein’s principle of causality. It supports the activities of the Irvine-London-Munich-PoliMi-Salzburg network in philosophy and foundations of physics. Funding period: March 2018-March 2020 (PI: Giovanni Valente).