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University opens Bonn Sustainable AI Lab

The Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn opened the Bonn Sustainable AI Lab, a research laboratory for artificial intelligence, on Thursday, November 25, 2021.

This is a press release from the University of Bonn:

The Sustainable AI Lab is a place where excellent researchers from different disciplines collaborate and reflect on the environmental, social and economic costs of design, development and use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in society. The questions to be explored span multiple disciplines and levels of analysis, including the normative rationale for the value of sustainability, the strength of the concept of sustainability, measuring the environmental costs of AI, understanding the generational impacts of AI, and creating public policy guidance for developing environmentally appropriate and sustainable uses of AI.

The lab is an initiative of AI ethicist Prof. Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe and was made possible by funding from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation - van Wynsberghe has held a Humboldt Professorship at the University of Bonn for about a year. "Supported by a strong team of researchers, as well as artists and other knowledge partners, we are working to strengthen Germany as a center of excellence for AI sustainability projects," emphasizes van Wynsberghe, who recently chaired a session with her team at the COP26 global climate conference in Glasgow and presented an artwork by artist Roosmarijn Pallandt. "These were perfect examples of our commitment to sustainability in AI. In addition, we have already funded a research project led by Dr. Gry Hasselbalch, dedicated to the topic of 'data pollution and power,'" says van Wynsberghe.

In addition, she announces another project: She and her team will collaborate with the Bonn-based United Nations Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC) to facilitate knowledge transfer and dissemination through information and resource sharing. "Artificial intelligence is at the forefront of current scientific and technological advances. It holds tremendous potential, but it is imperative that we better understand how it impacts global efforts to combat climate change," stressed Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC.

Major Katja Dörner states "I am convinced that the new 'Bonn Sustainable AI Lab' is a wonderful fit for Bonn as an international location and center for sustainability. I am confident that this new facility will benefit from the many synergies available in our city. I wish the Lab every success for its important work and sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to its creation!"

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