Institute for Technology Assessment and  Systems Analysis (ITAS)

AI competence center for Karlsruhe

Learning systems play an increasingly important role in the fields of work and education. Together with partners in the region, ITAS is involved in the establishment of a regional competence center on the topic, focusing on the human being.
KI-Systeme für Lernen und Arbeiten vom Menschen her zu denken, ist Ziel des Projektverbunds KARL.
To think AI systems for learning and working from the human perspective is the goal of the KARL project network. (Source: Alexander Sinn / Unsplash)

“In the future, we will also have to deal with the impacts of AI technologies in our working lives. It is important to prepare the employees appropriately, with foresight, and at eye level for potential changes,” says Bettina-Johanna Krings. She is an expert for questions regarding the relationship between information technologies and work structures and responsible for the ITAS research contributing to the project network “Artificial Intelligence for Working and Learning in the Karlsruhe region” (KARL).

Including the employees’ experiences and expectations

The project network aims to develop and apply AI-assisted working and learning systems. Here, “the focus should be on the human being”, which has been vehemently requested by science and politics for several years, for example in the design of Industry 4.0, and should include ergonomic, psychological, and physical experiences and expectations of employees at their workplaces. The project, coordinated by Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, promotes exactly this expectation and focuses on four areas:

  • mobility and autonomous driving
  • knowledge-intensive services and ICT systems (development of digital learning platforms)
  • production (e.g., inclusion of 3D cameras or voice assistants in factory halls)
  • and education (e.g., development of demonstrators and attractive show cases such as videos, animation clips, simulations to be shown and experienced)

No “AI at all costs”

The task of ITAS and its trade-union project partners is to make social, ethical, and legal criteria for the research and development process visible. “These criteria are important since the project is not about introducing AI into work processes at all costs, but about researching thoroughly how and in which way AI can and should be applied in order to support, facilitate, and change versatile work activities and processes.”

The ITAS work is based on participatory processes involving representatives from science, industry, and transfer institutes such as the Fraunhofer Institutes in Karlsruhe. (30.03.2021)

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