Ageism in AI: new forms of age discrimination and exclusion in the era of algorithms and artificial intelligence

Period: March 2023- February 2027

Source of funding: Wolkswagen Foundation

Partners: Andrea Rosales (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya), Justyna Stypińska (Berlin Social Science Center – Weizenbaum Institute), Maria Sourbati (Brighton University), Rüya Gökhan Koçer (Leiden University)


The intrinsic bias of AI has begun to gain considerable academic and public attention after several studies demonstrated significant biases in machine learning (ML) systems and contributed evidence into how AI can negatively impact various marginalised groups. The category of age is critical to social inclusion and equality in our ageing societies, however little is presently known of the extent and different forms of ageism in AI. The aim of AGEAI project is to critically assess how ageism operates in AI systems, products, services, and infrastructure by focusing on critical areas of AI deployment (healthcare, employment, mobility, financial services or face recognition). The AI technology developed in those areas has been recognized as “high-risk” by the proposed EU AI Act (2021) and will need to be rigorously scrutinized to meet the standards of trustworthy and fair AI.

This project has four main objectives: (1) to propose a novel theoretical framework to  understanding ageism and exclusion in AI systems; (2) to create an innovative multi-methods  design to investigate ageism in AI creating a pathway for future social research and policy  development; (3) to generate empirical evidence of ageism in major critical areas of AI-deployment , and  (4) to create tools for stakeholders, AI practitioners, and policymakers to ensure the  development of age inclusive AI in Europe.

The project relies on a multi-methods approach, which combines 1) semi-structured interviews, 2) discourse and document analysis, 3) Delphi expert study, 4) participatory workshops (citizen science) and 5) experimental data mining techniques. By conducting the field work in five cities across four countries (Barcelona, Berlin, Brighton, London, and Warsaw) a rich heterogeneity of Europe’s ageing populations is reflected.

Link to project webstie here.