Artificial intelligence: Spotlight on people and society

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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.

Artificial intelligence is one of the key focus areas for the future in Japan, recognised as a fundamental element in the vision of “Society 5.0” outlined in the Japanese government’s 6th Basic Plan. With a longstanding tradition of advancements in computers, chips, industrial robots, and artificial intelligence, Japan has positioned itself at the forefront of technological innovation. Tokyo, in particular, is considered an appealing hub for ambitious AI developers due to its excellent conditions for attracting globally scarce AI talent and propelling the development of groundbreaking generative AI models like ChatGPT.

Close Partnership with Germany

Japan regards AI as a global challenge and actively supports international collaboration in this domain, with Germany recognised as a close partner in this collective effort. Aligned with its 2022 AI Strategy, the Japanese government remains steadfast in promoting AI research and development through both cross-departmental programmes and specialized initiatives. These initiatives are notably spearheaded by the Ministries of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology; Economy, Trade, and Industry; as well as Home Affairs and Communications. On June 30, 2022, a cooperation agreement marked a milestone between the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and Osaka Metropolitan University, establishing DFKI’s first ever research laboratory outside Germany. Furthermore, nine ongoing trilateral AI research projects are collaboratively funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), and the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR).

DWIH Tokyo, with its rich experience, is well-prepared for the 2024 focus topic. Having organized its first Japanese-German-French symposium on artificial intelligence in 2018, the event has since evolved, with the third iteration taking place in 2022 under the theme “KI for Planetary Challenges in the Anthropocene.” Attracting around 60 representatives from academia, business, and politics, the symposium explored ways to leverage AI for societal sustainability. Building on this success, DWIH Tokyo plans to continue this format in November 2024, focusing on “Generative AI” this year. Trilateral AI Conference 2024

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