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Published: 2022-10-17 Updated: 2022-10-18, 11:47

AI for the Good of All? The theme of the inauguration of a new AI-center

NEWS Some of the world's top AI experts attend the Inauguration of TAIGA, the new centre for transdisciplinary AI For the Good of All at Umeå University. Harvard professor Milind Tambe, Ana Paiva, AI professor at the University of Lisbon and keynote speaker of this year's largest AI conference as well as Paul Lukowicz, Coordinator of Europe's largest AI research network will be giving talks.

Text: Victoria Skeidsvoll

H&M Group, Boliden, IKEA, Zalando, Sogeti and others will join for presentations, demos, roundtables, and panel discussions.

“TAIGA connects researchers from different disciplines bringing their expertise and uniting them with the knowledge of others to develop AI that contributes to the positive development of society – AI for The Good of All." This is unique in the world, according to Frank Dignum, AI professor and director of TAIGA.

Ecosystem of AI

In the autumn of 2021, the University Board approved its strategy for developing a strong, sustainable, and university-wide ecosystem of AI research at Umeå University.

“A year later, we can now open the new cross-faculty centre which, under the leadership of Frank Dignum, will be a strong hub for both in-house and international collaborations with a clear profile – to tackle research questions and societal problems that are otherwise not possible. It feels very satisfying," Katrine Riklund, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Umeå University, comments.

For the benefit of society

The inauguration of TAIGA on 26-28 October will feature a wide range of different activities open to all. Attendees will hear the very latest in AI from some of the world's leading experts. Milind Tambe, Professor at Harvard University will talk about how AI can be used to improve women's health on an international scale; Ana Paiva, AI Professor at the University of Lisbon and a keynote speaker at the world's largest AI conference – the International Joint Conference of AI – will talk about social agents, chat-bots and social robots and the art of building sociability and collaboration into AI solutions. Paul Lukowicz, Director of the German Research Center for AI, (DFKI), talks about human-centered AI. Prof Lukowicz leads Europe's largest research network on AI.

“These are among the world's top researchers coming to talk about how to develop AI for the benefit of society – in Umeå”, says Frank Dignum, director of TAIGA.

A critical approach

Key questions about AI, its aesthetics, and politics will be discussed during a panel debate with Sara Cook, Professor of Museum Studies at the University of Glasgow, and Marion Carré, artist and the CEO of Ask Mona, a discussion chaired by Ele Carpenter, Professor at Umeå School of Architecture. The need for critical AI research is also the theme of one of TAIGA's roundtables: gigantic data sets, GDPR, as well as major changes when human judgment must interact with AI is something that affects us all and where research is greatly needed. Some of this research is led by Umeå university already.

“This will be interspersed with the latest in AI in healthcare, education, art, law, and society, as well as AI at Umeå University, where the visitors will get to meet today's robots and technology,” says Frank Dignum.

Global companies

The transformation of the working life is already happening, and Virginia Dignum, AI professor and member of the European Commission's expert group on AI, will chair a panel discussion with representatives from the H&M Group, Boliden, Health care, workforce research, and Umeå Municipality. And if AI can make decisions both faster and more logically, will top management be needed? This will be the subject of a talk by Alf Rehn, esteemed speaker and Professor of Innovation, Design and Management at the University of Southern Denmark.

Umeå on the International AI Map

"TAIGA develops connections within the university and in the national and international research community. We are also building strong collaborations with society, business, and industry. Several companies are coming to showcase new AI solutions at our Exhibition"  says professor Dignum.

There will also be a hackathon geared towards the younger generation such as the Umeå University students. There will also be round table discussions on understanding AI and Social AI including behavioral scientists, psychologists, and social scientists.

“AI affects us all and the transdisciplinary approach of TAIGA is the start of something new for all the researchers at Umeå University but also for the region and Sweden companies and social actors. With TAIGA we consolidate the place of Umeå University on the international AI map, Frank Dignum concludes.