In his keynote speech at the start of the ‘AI for Good Global Summit’ in Geneva earlier this week, Audi global CEO Rupert Stadler—talking about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for the benefit of humankind—stated that automated driving presents an opportunity to improve life significantly. He warned, however, against excessive expectations. “In situations where an accident is unavoidable, we expect a decision from the autonomous car. However, a dilemma situation cannot be solved either by a human or by a machine. Therefore, alongside legal issues, ethical questions about the use of the new technology also need to be discussed,” he said. AI will substantially change our mobility, our working world and our lives. It is regarded by experts from science and industry as a key technology for piloted and autonomous driving. It assists the car in perceiving and interpreting its environment, and deriving decisions from this. But who is liable in the case of accidents, and how should the car driving autonomously behave in a situation of unavoidable danger?
Towards that, the German carmaker has an initiative called ‘beyond’, the aim of which is that AI be applied for the benefit of society. It focuses on ethical, legal and social aspects of autonomous driving and the future of work in the age of AI. As a first step, the ‘beyond’ initiative has established an interdisciplinary network of international AI experts. Stadler said, “We need a discourse in society that looks at the enormous potential of piloted and autonomous driving in relation to the ethical and legal questions. The automobile industry cannot answer the ethical and legal questions of piloted and autonomous driving alone. Science, business, politicians and society must work together.”
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As a next step, the ‘beyond’ initiative will involve further multipliers and press ahead with research cooperation.
The second subject on which the ‘beyond’ initiative focuses is the future of the working world in the age of AI. “We need a more differentiated understanding of how AI is changing our working world,” demanded Stadler. “Our aim is a perfect collaboration of humans and machines.” The idea of modular assembly without an assembly line is an example of what this interaction could look like in a smart factory.
The organisers of this UN congress are the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the XPRIZE Foundation, a non-profit that designs and manages public competitions intended to encourage technological development that could benefit mankind.