Communicating knowledge to AI - Web-Talk about practical experiences

Applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are finding their way into more and more areas of life. At the same time, many people are still not quite clear about what is behind the technology. How can the functioning, applications, opportunities and challenges of Artificial Intelligence (AI) be successfully communicated to a broad public? This question was the focus of a web-talk to which the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt) also invited representatives of the Plattform Lernende Systeme on July 17, 2020.

From left to right: Christoph Egle (bidt), Johannes Winter (Plattform Lernende Systeme), Ute Schmidt (University of Bamberg, bidt); Lower row: Andreas Liebl (appliedAI Initiative / Plattform Lernende Systeme), Florian Rampelt (KI-Campus)

Artificial Intelligence is still a mystery to many citizens, according to the results of a recent representative study by bidt. More than half of the respondents state that they only "roughly" know what is meant by AI; more than one in five do not know what is hidden behind Artificial Intelligence or have never heard the term before. During the one-hour web talk moderated by Christoph Egle (Scientific Director, bidt) and Margret Hornsteiner (Head of Dialogue Department, bidt), experts discussed why knowledge transfer to broad sections of the population is important and which measures are suitable for this purpose.

The discussants agreed that a broad social discussion is necessary to ensure that AI can be designed and used for the benefit of all. Moreover, the potential of Artificial Intelligence in industry and other areas can only be fully exploited if it is trusted. At the same time AI is a complex topic. Everybody should understand it well enough to be able to question AI applications in private and professional life - and to be able to deal with AI applications in a responsible manner.

Between saviour and spectre

"AI is no longer a niche subject. Nevertheless, and precisely because of this, we still have a way to go, because the understanding of what AI is and what it can or cannot do varies greatly," said Johannes Winter, Head of the Plattform Lernende Systeme office at acatech. In addition to position papers and studies, the platform focuses on everyday application examples and the exchange with different social groups. "In this way, AI can be grounded quite well between the two poles as a bringer of salvation and a spectre of horror, and it can also be shown what concrete benefits AI brings," explained Johannes Winter.

Florian Rampelt, project manager of the AI Campus at the Stifterverband and deputy head of the office of the Hochschulforum Digitalisierung, demanded that low-threshold educational opportunities that help people overcome their fears and convey enthusiasm for different areas of research and application are decisive for a broad appeal. He referred to the diverse digital learning opportunities that are currently being developed for the KI Campus education platform initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). "It is also important to me to have open and free access to such offers so that AI skills do not become a privilege for a few people," said Florian Rampelt.

Communicating what AI can do - and what not

As complex as the topic of AI is: Well done, it could be made accessible to children, said Ute Schmid, Bidt director and professor of applied computer science at the University of Bamberg. According to her long experience, younger children are usually more open and less anxious when it comes to new technology. It is important to communicate the possibilities and limitations of AI. "Children as well as adults without a professional background tend to attribute general intelligence and awareness to AI systems. It is important to make it clear that a system that can, for example, translate English quite well or identify objects in pictures can only do exactly that and nothing else," says Ute Schmid.

AI will transform the business world in the coming years. Many companies would have understood that they had to deal with the topic, says Andreas Liebl, head of the initiative appliedAI, managing director of UnternehmerTUM and member of the Plattform Lernende Systeme. However, only very few of them have succeeded in applying AI throughout the company so far. "It is a long way to really use AI to create value. A lot is still developing. However, this does not mean that one does not have to deal with it already today. You have to start the AI journey," says Andreas Liebl.

Further information

On a digital bulletin board, the participants of the web-talk exchanged information about projects and initiatives for AI knowledge transfer and created the following overview of initiatives and projects for AI knowledge transfer.

The Plattform Lernende Systeme bundles free training and learning materials on the topic of Artificial Intelligence on its website in the Fit for AI section.

Further information:

Linda Treugut / Birgit Obermeier
Press and Public Relations

Lernende Systeme – Germany's Platform for Artificial Intelligence
Managing Office | c/o acatech
Karolinenplatz 4 | 80333 Munich

T.: +49 89/52 03 09-54 /-51
M.: +49 172/144 58-47 /-39

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