Skip to main content

Mission AI

The New System Technology

  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2023

You have full access to this open access Book


  • Introduces the term 'system technology' to characterize AI and its impact on society
  • Offers an useful framework to direct the process of embedding AI in society
  • Provides a comprehensive overview of the history and field of AI

Part of the book series: Research for Policy (RP)

Buy print copy

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

About this book

This open access book offers a strategic perspective on AI and the process of embedding it in society. ​After decades of research, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now entering society at large. Due to its general purpose character, AI will change society in multiple, fundamental and unpredictable ways. Therefore, the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) characterizes AI as a system technology: a rare type of technologies that have a systemic impact on society. Earlier system technologies include electricity, the combustion engine and the computer. The history of these technologies provides us with useful insights about what it takes to direct the introduction of AI in society. The WRR identifies five key tasks to structurally work on this process: demystification, contextualisation, engagement, regulation and positioning. By clarifying what AI is (demystification), creating a functional ecosystem (contextualisation), involving diverse stakeholders (engagement), developing directive frameworks (regulation) and engaging internationally (positioning), societies can meaningfully influence how AI settles. Collectively, these activities steer the process of co-development between technology and society, and each representing a different path to safeguard public values. Mission AI - The New System Technology was originally published as an advisory report for the government of the Netherlands. The strategic analysis and the outlined recommendations are, however, relevant to every government and organization that aims to take up 'misson AI' and embed this newest system technology in our world.

Similar content being viewed by others


Table of contents (10 chapters)

  1. Building Blocks: Introducing and Interpreting AI as a New System Technology, Similar to Electricity and the Internal Combustion Engine

  2. Five Tasks: Discussion of the Tasks for Embedding AI Into Society

  3. Agenda: Conclusions and Recommendations for AI Policy in the Netherlands

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid, Den Haag, The Netherlands

    Haroon Sheikh, Corien Prins, Erik Schrijvers

About the authors

Corien Prins. Regulatory challenges and questions around the introduction of digital technologies have been on Corien Prins’ agenda for three decades. In 1995, she founded what is now the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society—a world-renowned research center on law, society, and technology. In her research on the impact of emerging technologies on individuals and society, she has focused on the role of regulation, law, fundamental values, and human rights. In 2017, Prins was appointed chair of the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR), which advises the Dutch government and parliament on strategic issues likely to have significant political and societal consequences. Prins has an abiding interest in the interdependency of the digital and physical worlds. One of her current research foci within the broader theme of artificial intelligence is its use by the judiciary. Here she seeks to understand the implications of using AI for the core values of thejudiciary—impartiality, independence, and due process. Other research topics of Prins relate to the development of legal measures to gain a clearer picture of which parties, digital processes and services are key to the functioning of critical (vital) processes in society. She thereby looks at the chains and networks that support key processes and investigates whether digitalization necessitates changes to the prioritization of assets that are essential for the functioning of a society and economy. Her other research interests include the implications of digital technologies for democracy in a globalized world; the use of digital technologies and personal autonomy; and privacy and personal data protection.

Haroon Sheikh is a senior scientist and project coordinator at the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy, and a Professor in The Strategic Governance of Global Technologies at VU University. His research focuses on the intersection of new technology and internationalrelations. Haroon studied philosophy, political science and public administration at Leiden and Oxford University and did his PhD in philosophy on the relationship between tradition and modernity at VU University. He worked over a decade in the financial sector and headed Freedomlab Thinktank in Amsterdam. Haroon has written several books in the field of geopolitics.

Erik Schrijvers is senior scientist and project coordinator at the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy. He is also a member of the Supervisory Board of DEN, knowledge institute for culture and digital transformation. His research focuses on the intersection of digital technology, culture and policy. He studied history of international relations and philosophy at Utrecht University. He obtained his PhD with a thesis on the history of forms of extra-parliamentary representation in the Netherlands. In 2016 and 2017 he worked for the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, where he was responsible forthe research and reporting of the study group Information Society and Government.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Mission AI

  • Book Subtitle: The New System Technology

  • Authors: Haroon Sheikh, Corien Prins, Erik Schrijvers

  • Series Title: Research for Policy

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2023

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-21447-9Published: 31 January 2023

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-21450-9Published: 31 January 2023

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-21448-6Published: 30 January 2023

  • Series ISSN: 2662-3684

  • Series E-ISSN: 2662-3692

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XX, 410

  • Number of Illustrations: 1 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Science and Technology Studies, Artificial Intelligence

Publish with us