Webinar on ethics and digital technologies 

Innovative and digital technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT), can enable the transformation of the food system into a demand-driven economy that provides consumers with healthy and sustainable food. These technologies may, however, entail the need for appropriate governance on the part of the technology-providing companies; in the face of these new technologies, new skills and knowledge must be developed to ensure high ethical standards, resulting from these innovations, and the optimal data management of the actors involved.

TITAN is a project that aims to enable the transformation of the food system through such technological innovations. To ensure that this transformation takes in consideration the needed ethical considerations, TITAN has appointed an Ethics Advisor capable of guiding the consortium and the technology providers in making choices that comply with current regulations.

It is also for this purpose that on 14 February, ILSI Europe, organized the webinar Food Systems in transformation – Balancing breakthrough innovation with ethical and data management compliance. Introduced by Dr. Isabelle Guelinckx, Executive Director of ILSI Europe, the meeting was attended by the Ethics Advisor of the TITAN project, Dr. Christina Cociancig, who presented the current and future ethical challenges arising from the implementation of such innovative technologies, the tools useful to strengthen data management activities and the regulatory framework in which these activities fit.

The meeting was also an opportunity to present 3 of TITAN’s 15 pilot projects using artificial intelligence and blockchain. Dr Manos Karvounis, from Agroknow, presented the pilot Real-time & intelligent data sharing for verification of honey and herbs suppliers, starting with a general question ‘Can we predict food safety incidents before they happen?’. Dr Bert Popping, from FOCOS, reported on the activities of the pilot Demonstration of traceability and authenticity in the olive supply chain, The pilot, combining Blockchain technology and small devices for DNA analysis aims to strengthen traceability in the olive oil supply chain. Finally, Dr Amparo Roca, from AI Talentum, represented the pilot Healthy nutritional habits tool for kids, which aims to create an AI Chatbot capable of influencing children’s food choices towards more nutritious foods.