On the trail of Isaac Asimov
With a kick-off event in September, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) launched the initiative "Centre for European Research in Trusted AI", or "CERTAIN" for short, at the University of Saarbrücken.24 Oct 2023
With his three robot laws, Isaac Asimov already addressed the problem in 1942 that artificial intelligence and constructions enabled by it could one day become dangerous to their creators. A good 80 years later, it is now indeed time to think seriously about this. According to those responsible, the recently launched "CERTAIN" initiative is to focus on the issue of "trust in AI systems" - an aspect that is still too often neglected in international research. The specific goal is to develop new technologies that provide functional and other guarantees for AI systems to do exactly what they were designed to do, while respecting ethical and functional standards. This commitment builds on the resources and broad AI networks that DFKI has already established in the AI industry at the Saarbrücken site.
Certificates or seals of approval should create trust
A particular focus of the project is the need for certificates or seals of approval for AI. A recent study by the International University of Applied Sciences Munich emphasizes the growing concerns of industry and users regarding the reliability and privacy of AI solutions. Professor Philipp Slusallek, one of the leaders behind "CERTAIN," comments, "The proper functioning of AI software is crucial. Only on the basis of guarantees can we meaningfully discuss their ethics."
International collaborations are being sought
In addition, "CERTAIN" serves as a basis for continuing national and European projects, with a particular focus on cooperation with France and other partners in the greater region. "The AI cooperation here on the Saarbrücken campus is already extremely strong, but with 'CERTAIN' we will deepen it and expand it throughout Europe," Slusallek said. An integrative part of "CERTAIN" will be the transfer of research results into innovative start-ups. In this context, DFKI will significantly develop its activities around the topic of startups and, to this end, establish a strategic partnership with Triathlon, the ecosystem for entrepreneurship, innovation and transfer at Saarland University.
Saarland to benefit as well
Funding for this groundbreaking project is provided by the ERDF program as part of the "toCERTAIN" project, which significantly strengthens AI research and development in the region. Jürgen Barke, Saarland's Minister of Research and Innovation, explains: "In the future, there will hardly be an economic sector that can do without AI. With this project, DFKI is developing solutions through which confidence in this technology can be strengthened - a project with economic and social benefits that should not be underestimated. Through the emerging research expertise and international networking, Saarland can become the focal point of 'Trusted AI' research in Europe."
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