Facebook last week announced a new partnership with the Technical University of Munich (TUM) to support the creation of an independent AI ethics research center. The Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence, which is supported by an initial funding grant from Facebook of 6.5 million euros over five years, will help advance the growing field of ethical research on new technology and will explore fundamental issues affecting the use and impact of AI.
The independent Institute will be led by Professor Dr. Christoph Lütge, who holds degrees in business informatics and philosophy and has served as the Peter Löscher Endowed Chair of Business Ethics at TUM since 2010. Working with a diverse advisory board of representatives from academia, civil society, and industry, the Institute will identify specific research questions and convene researchers focused on AI ethics and governance-related issues.
“At the TUM Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence, we will explore the ethical issues of AI and develop ethical guidelines for the responsible use of the technology in society and the economy,” Dr. Lütge said. “Our evidence-based research will address issues that lie at the interface of technology and human values. Core questions arise around trust, privacy, fairness or inclusion, for example, when people leave data traces on the internet or receive certain information by way of algorithms. We will also deal with transparency and accountability, for example in medical treatment scenarios, or with rights and autonomy in human decision-making in situations of human-AI interaction.”
Facebook says AI offers an opportunity to benefit people and communities around the world. But as AI technology increasingly impacts people and society, the academics, industry stakeholders and developers driving these advances need to do so responsibly and ensure AI treats people fairly, protects their safety, respects their privacy, and works for them.
The Technical University of Munich is one of the top-ranked universities worldwide in the field of artificial intelligence, with work extending from fundamental research, to applications in fields like robotics and machine intelligence, to the study of the social implications of AI. The Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence will leverage the TUM’s academic expertise, resources and global network to pursue ethical research into the questions evolving technologies raise.
While Facebook has provided initial funding, the Institute will explore other funding opportunities from additional partners and agencies.