Institute for Technology Assessment and  Systems Analysis (ITAS)

AI development: Focus on people

Artificial intelligence should help to improve our lives in many different areas. But how do we ensure that society actually benefits from these systems? This question is now in the focus of a dissertation project at ITAS.
KI mit Herz? Ein Promotionsprojekt am ITAS sucht nach Wegen, ethische Prinzipien bei der Entwicklung zu berücksichtigen.
AI with heart? A dissertation project at ITAS explores ways to consider ethical principles during development. (Source: Alexander Sinn/Unsplash)

The discussion about the effects of AI is dominated by a multitude of high expectations. The hope of improving the quality of life is accompanied by promises of an economic or ecological progress. Expectations are also high in different fields of research. Medicine, for example, hopes to gain new and faster insights into the causes and treatment options of diseases with the help of AI.

“AI has to consider human needs”

“However, these fine-sounding promises and expectations only have a chance of becoming reality if the AI systems intended for this purpose acknowledge human needs and behaviors appropriately,” explains Pascal Vetter. As a member of the scientific staff of the ITAS research group “Digital Technologies and Societal Change” the doctoral student deals with questions of human-centered technology design. According to Vetter, systems that use learning algorithms have to communicate in an understandable way, explain their activities, and must not make the people they come into contact with worry about their own well-being.

Ethical design processes

Based on these considerations, Pascal Vetter investigates in his dissertation project methods that allow the incorporation of established fundamental societal, ethical, and moral principles into the design processes of AI systems. To this end, he draws on existing knowledge in the fields of technology assessment and technology ethics. (09.07.2020)

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