TUM has long been a driving force in researching the mutual interactions of science, technology and society. In recognition of the university’s considerable contributions to this burgeoning field, Facebook made a five-year, US$ 7.5 million contribution to TUM in January 2019, to help launch the IEAI, which will finance, and ensure the independence of, game-changing research into wide-reaching, ethical and responsible applications for AI.
The new institute follows the university’s bold creation of the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS) in 2012, whose mission is to better understand and reflexively shape the multiple interactions between science, technology and society.
On the occasion of its official launch in October 2019, the IEAI announced funding for six initial research projects through the end of 2022.
The IEAI conducts inter-, multi-, and transdisciplinary research that promotes active collaboration between the technical, engineering and social sciences, while also actively courting interaction with a wide group of international stakeholders from academia, industry and civil society. This exhaustive approach enables the IEAI to truly and comprehensively address a growing group of ethical challenges arising at the interface of technology and human values. It also aids in the development of thoroughly operational ethical frameworks in the field of AI.
The IEAI´s research addresses challenges such as:
Ethics, fairness and diversity
Transparency and accountability
Governance and regulation
Social responsibility and sustainability
In its role as a platform for meaningful cooperation between industry, civil society and academia, the IEAI organizes workshops, conferences and seminars to promote exchange between a wide range of important stakeholders.
The increasing involvement of technology in almost every aspect of society has already brought about fundamental change in an unprecedented scope of areas. It goes without question that AI already has and will continue to transform society substantially within the course of our lifetimes. The most pressing question now is how this societal transformation will take place, and what the repercussions will be.
The IEAI’s research poses questions such as, “What should be possible in AI?,” and “How can we ensure that as many people as possible benefit from AI’s rewards?” Its foremost priority is the generation of global, egalitarian and interdisciplinary guidelines for the ethical development and implementation of AI.
Though promoting research and providing a platform for academics and practitioners alike, the IEAI fosters the integration of ethical and societal priorities into the development of fundamentally integrative AI technologies and approaches.
Inter- and cross-disciplinary research is integral to the institute. It combines scientific expertise with indepth employment of the social sciences to truly and comprehensively address the impending challenges posed by AI.