Date: September 30, 2019, No. 86

Public panel discussion on “AI & Ethics” : What is Artificial Intelligence allowed to do?

Event series “The Brain of the Future” is hosted by the Hertie Foundation and partners from the Cyber Valley
[Picture: Gemeinnützige Hertiestiftung]

Whether in daily mobility, in industrial applications or in the form of assistance solutions at home: Artificial Intelligence permeates an ever wider range of our lives. It is associated with great hopes, but it also raises fears. Therefore, the call for ethical guidelines regarding the new technologies is becoming increasingly louder. How can the “right” values be integrated into technical action? Can and may AI determine what is right? How to ensure that AI is developed, used and provided in the service of mankind? And how can the decision-making processes of AI, including wrong decisions, be made transparent, given the huge, complex amounts of data?

Questions like these are the focus of the lecture and discussion evening “AI & Ethics” at the University of Stuttgart. As part of the series “The Brain of the Future”, the non-profit Hertie Foundation, partners from the Cyber Valley and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung warmly invite the public and media representatives to:

Wednesday, 16 October 2019, 6 p.m.
University of Stuttgart, Campus Stadtmitte, Keplerstr. 17, Lecture Hall 17.01 (basement floor)

Admission is free.

Panelists include: Professor Dr. Regina Ammicht Quinn (University of Tübingen), Professor Dr. Markus Frings (Evangelisches Klinikum Niederrhein), Dr. Christoph Peylo (Robert Bosch GmbH) and Junior Professor Dr. Michael Sedlmair (University of Stuttgart). After short introductory talks, the audience will have the opportunity to participate in the discussion. The evening will be hosted by Carsten Knop (FAZ).

The panel

Prof. Dr. Regina Ammicht Quinn: What can an “AI ethics“ do, what is it supposed to do, and what does it want?
Ethics codes and ethical guidelines regarding Artificial Intelligence are increasingly being formulated in research and politics, in industry and in civil society. Keywords of the debates are, for example, social scoring, data protection and autonomy. These include questions about the “right” values of AI and who can determine them. And: Where can AI applications support a good life and a good society, instead of being damaging? Regina Ammicht Quinn is Spokesperson of the International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW) at the University of Tübingen and Director of the Center for Gender and Diversity Research. Her research focuses on application-related questions of ethics, including the fields of ethics and security, ethics of technology and ethical questions of digital technology development.

Prof. Dr. Markus Frings: Is there a “moral center“ in the brain?
Studies in patients with brain lesions and examinations using magnetic resonance imaging suggest that different systems in the human brain are involved in moral judgments. There is not the one “moral center” in the brain; the ability to act morally rather comes from the interplay of various neural networks and is embedded in the processes of the entire body in its lifeworld with social traditions. Markus Frings is a neurology specialist and has been a senior physician for ten years at the Clinic for Neurology at Essen University Hospital. He has been working at the Evangelisches Klinikum Niederrhein in the field of geriatric psychiatry since 2017. His scientific focus is motor skills and cognition as well as ethics in neurology. He is the author of the book “Gehirn und Moral” (Brain and Morals), published by Thieme.

Dr. Christoph Peylo: AI, Ethics and Trustworthiness
AI has the potential to transform our society from scratch, for the better or worse. Society, therefore, has the task to ensure that AI is actually developed, used and provided in a positive sense, that is, in the service of humanity. As a consequence, it is imperative to find societal acceptance criteria for AI. In this talk, some examples of benefits and ethical challenges are presented, as well as approaches to how a trustworthy AI can be realized. Christoph Peylo is Global Head of the Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence (BCAI) and head of the working group “Mobility and Intelligent Transport Systems” of the Plattform Lernende Systeme (Platform for Learning Systems), which is sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Prior to joining Robert Bosch GmbH in 2017, he was Vice President of Telekom Innovation Laboratories in Berlin, where he worked in the areas of AI, (Cyber) Security, Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things. Christoph Peylo studied computer science, computer linguistics and Artificial Intelligence and earned his doctorate in the field of AI at the University of Osnabrück.

Jun. Prof. Dr. Michael Sedlmair: Visualizing and understanding AI
From a computer science point of view, Artificial Intelligence is primarily based on algorithms and models of machine learning. For AI users, however, the resulting models are largely incomprehensible (black boxes), which also allows algorithmic misbehavior to remain hidden for a long time. One approach to better understand such models and to identify potential misconduct at an early stage is visualizations. In this talk, research projects will be presented that show how interactive visualization can already be used to make complex AI algorithms and models more transparent. Michael Sedlmair has been a junior professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Stuttgart since 2018. His research focuses on interactive visualization, virtual and augmented reality as well as human-machine interaction. In particular, he examines how large and complex amounts of data can be made more comprehensible to humans. Prior to his time in Stuttgart, he worked at Jacobs University Bremen, at the University of Vienna, the University of British Columbia, LMU Munich and BMW.


Event series “The Brain of the Future”

Artificial Intelligence, neural networks and autonomous intelligent systems are at the heart of the joint event series by the non-profit Hertie Foundation and partners from the Cyber Valley. The lecture evenings on the topic “The Brain of the Future” will take place in Frankfurt, at the Universities of Stuttgart and Tübingen and at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS).

Cyber Valley has been operating as a research network on Artificial Intelligence since 2016 and is supported by the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, the Universities of Tübingen and Stuttgart, seven industrial partners and the state of Baden-Württemberg. The scientists in the Cyber Valley are researching machine learning, robotics and computer vision. Initially, the Cyber Valley partners are investing EUR 165 million.

The work of the Hertie Foundation focuses on two key themes: Researching the brain and strengthening democracy. The Foundation's projects provide an exemplary impetus within these contexts. In the process, the focus is always on humans and the practical improvement of their living conditions. The non-profit Hertie Foundation was established in 1974 by the heirs of department store owner Georg Karg and is today one of the largest ideologically independent entrepreneurial foundations in Germany.

Further information:
More about the Hertie Foundation can be found here:
More about Cyber Valley can be found here:
More about the event series can be found at



This picture showsAndrea Mayer-Grenu

Andrea Mayer-Grenu

Scientific Consultant, Research Publications

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