Artificial intelligence: SPOTLIGHT ON PEOPLE AND SOCIETY

How can the potential of artificial intelligence be maximized for the benefit of society while minimizing risks as effectively as possible? This question is at the heart of the 2024 focus topic of the German Centres for Research and Innovation (DWIH), explored within their global network.

The advancement of artificial intelligence is progressing swiftly. With the remarkable success of foundational models like ChatGPT, the technology has transcended niche applications and entered the everyday lives of numerous individuals. Such transformative power necessitates thoughtful consideration of both the potential and challenges inherent in this technology.

International research collaborations, such as those facilitated by the German Centres for Research and Innovation, play a crucial role in this context. Artificial intelligence offers diverse applications to address local challenges in the countries where the DWIH operate—whether it’s adapting to climate change, optimizing traffic management, alleviating pressure on healthcare systems, or reshaping education to navigate crisis situations. Simultaneously, it is imperative to establish a global consensus on the risks and limitations associated with this technology.

Broad Spectrum of AI Research

The network of German Centres for Research and Innovation uniquely provides the invaluable combination of local expertise and global dialogue. It was only natural, then, for the DWIH Board of Trustees to once again prioritise AI as a key technology, following its focus in 2019.

This decision aligns seamlessly with the DWIH’s commitment to comprehensively cover the spectrum of the AI debate through a diverse array of dialogue sessions and events. Encompassing specific potential applications across various industries, the discussions will also delve into overarching issues such as governance, geopolitical challenges, and the potential impact of AI on human and fundamental rights.

Visit the DWIH network website for further insights into the rationale behind the DWIH’s focus topic for 2024.

Since 2021, the Brazilian government has allocated funding for six Centers of Applied Research (CPAs) nationwide, with a dedicated focus on artificial intelligence. In the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Bahia, and Ceará, these centers are actively engaged in scientific and technological research projects aimed at addressing specific challenges through the application of artificial intelligence.

Necessity for AI Regulation

The nation is contending with the challenges presented by this emerging technology. Like many Latin American countries, Brazil employs biometric facial recognition in public spaces. Law enforcement utilises this technology in criminal investigations, such as identifying individuals in large crowds. The problem lies in the inaccuracies of these systems, particularly towards people of colour and women due to biased training data. In response to these challenges,  the government is taking proactive steps by enacting a new AI law. However, AI also presents opportunities in other sectors, such as healthcare, where researchers in Brazil are using AI successfully to predict epidemiological models. Additionally, AI is being utilised to combat disinformation, as seen in the Falling Walls Lab Brazil 2023, organised with the assistance of DWIH São Paulo. The winner of the main prize developed a web platfrom that employs machine learning to identify disinformation campaigns and fake news.

The DWIH São Paulo closely monitors these developments, with priority areas including democracy, human rights, and sustainable innovations. In anticipation of the regulatory adjustments to AI systems and their societal impact, the DWIH São Paulo aims to foster German-Brazilian dialogue between science and industry and is committed to facilitating an exchange of ideas on AI as a pivotal topic for the future.