With almost 10 million euros in funding, the Volkswagen Foundation encourages research projects that explore how artificial intelligence will affect society. Goethe University Frankfurt (GU) was successful with an application that looks at developments in human-machine interaction in education.

From Machine Learning to Machine Teaching (ML2MT) – Making Machines AND Humans Smarter” – this is the title of the project that the economist Prof. Oliver Hinz applied for in an interdisciplinary project together with colleagues from various subjects. The success of learning machines, as in the prime example of the board game Go (in the computer version “AlphaGo Zero”), has inspired scientists. Their project aims at a better understanding of how humans and machines in collaborative human-AI systems can develop new knowledge in symbiotic interaction with each other. To this end, the consortium is researching the analytical and technical foundations that are responsible for the successful transfer of new knowledge from intelligent machines to humans and vice versa. This is being investigated by means of hybrid human-machine systems in case of studies from medical diagnostics, economic decision-making and financial market forecasting. The team wants to derive generalisable socio-technological and psychological findings and make recommendations to further improve the interaction between humans and machines.

The individual members of the project are: Prof. Oliver Hinz (Economics, GU (lead)), Prof. Yee Lee Shing (Developmental Psychology, GU), Prof. Loriana Pelizzon (Economics, GU) and Prof. Tobias Tröger (Law, GU, both also at the Leibniz Institute for Financial Market Research SAFE, Frankfurt), Prof. Gernot Rohde (University Hospital Frankfurt/Main and GU), Prof. Kristian Kersting (Computer Science, TU Darmstadt), & Prof. Hendrik Drachsler (Computer Science, GU, and DIPF | Leibniz Institute for Human Development and Educational Information, Frankfurt/Main location).

The Volkswagen Foundation is funding seven project consortia from the social and technical sciences with a total of 9.8 million euros. With its “Artificial Intelligence” initiative, it aims to promote interdisciplinary and transnational research on the responsible further development of AI systems. “The newly approved projects focus on areas in which AI systems are already being used or will be used in the near future, for example in medical diagnostics or preventive remote therapy, but also in financial market forecasting, scientific image processing or journalism,” says Dr Henrike Hartmann, head of the funding department. “The researchers are thinking one step ahead, anticipating the impact of AI on society and how to make it positive.”

All selected projects are scheduled to run for four years and will each receive around 1.5 million euros in funding. The initiative “Artificial Intelligence – Its Impact on Tomorrow’s Society” has been running since 2017, and a total of 33.9 million euros has been approved to date. The content of the initiative will be further developed in 2022.

Further information on the Volkswagen Foundation’s initiative “Artificial Intelligence – Its Impact on Tomorrow’s Society” can be found at www.volkswagenstiftung.de/kuenstliche-intelligenz.