AI for Sustainability and the Sustainability of AI.
AI can be an important tool for sustainable development. There is an almost overwhelming number of recent publications showing the various ways in which AI can be used for the sustainable development goals. However, these uses may come with a cost – a cost that is yet to be thoroughly assessed, evaluated and balanced. This cost can concern the environment – like carbon emissions generated while training and tuning AI models – or people more directly – like power asymmetries between those that do and do not have access to the technology – or, of course and ultimately, both at once. For this reason, Prof. Dr. van Wynsberghe from the University of Bonn, supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Institute for Science and Ethics, is launching the world’s first conference on the topic of Sustainable AI.
The aim of this Sustainable AI conference is to get researchers talking about the environmental, social and economic costs of designing, developing, and using AI. The discussion will be directed at exploring: the normative grounding of the value of sustainability; the strength of the concept of sustainability; how to measure environmental costs of AI; understanding the intergenerational impacts of AI; and, informing public policy guidelines for the green, proportionate and sustainable development and use of AI.
The conference will be interdisciplinary and welcomes contributions from computer sciences, philosophy, (applied) AI ethics, social sciences, law and policy, and others. There will be a variety of events including but not limited to: presentations by thought leaders in this space, a trailer for and an associated call for interaction with an art installation by Thijs Biersteker on the topic of Sustainable AI, and a panel organized by the World Economic Forum Global Council for AI and Humanity on the topic of intergenerational issues.
The whole conference is now available on YouTube
Click here for a list of all videos.
The conference will be held virtually on June 15-17, 2021.
Presenters are kindly requested to join these sessions to build an ongoing dialogue.
See here for the agenda: Download PDF
For a collection of all abstracts please click here.
Lynn Kaack, Energy and Technology Policy
Group, ETH Zürich, Climate Change AI
Raphaela Kotsch, University of Zurich/Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Climate Change AI
Federica Lucivero, Senior Researcher in Ethics and Data, Ethox and Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, University of Oxford“The environmental sustainability of digital, data and AI driven technologies: delineating a responsibility gap” (Abstract)
Francesca Mazzi, Postdoctoral researcher, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, Ph.D. candidate, Queen Mary University of London, Maastricht University“The Oxford Initiative on AI for SDGs – Mapping and learning from AI for SDGs projects: what’s next?” (Abstract)
Friederike Rohde, Institute for Ecological Economy
Research (IÖW), Researcher and PhD candidate at TU Berlin
Marcus Voß, TU Berlin, Distributed Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (DAI-Labor), Head of Application Center “Smart Energy Systems”
Aimee van Wynsberghe is the Alexander von Humboldt Professor for Applied Ethics of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Bonn in Germany. She is launching and organizing the Sustainable AI Conference.
Please find Aimee van Wynsberghe‘s bio here.
Dr. Marius Bartmann is a Research Associate at the
German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences (DRZE). He received his
PhD in Philosophy from the University of Bonn (summa cum laude). His current
research focuses on the ethics of climate change.
Please find Marius Bartmann’s bio here.
Nachid is a research student at the Institute for Science and Ethics at the
University of Bonn in Germany. She is co-organizing the Sustainable AI
Please find Jamila Nachid’s bio here.
hosted by AlgorithmWatch
Yolanda Rother is a conference curator, community activator, speaker and moderator, and has worked internationally to tackle issues on open government, diversity, urban development and decolonization. She is the Co-Founder of “The Impact Company”, a diversity inclusion business and leads Europe projects at Stiftung Zukunft Berlin. She’s based in Berlin.
State Secretary at the Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
Matthias Spielkamp is co-founder and executive director of AlgorithmWatch (Theodor Heuss Medal 2018, Grimme Online Nominee 2019). He testified before committees of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the German Bundestag and other institutions on automation and AI and is a member of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI). [more]
Aimee van Wynsberghe has been working in ICT and robotics since 2004. She began her career as part of a research team working with surgical robots in Canada at CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies and Advance Robotics). She is the Alexander von Humboldt Professor for Applied Ethics of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Bonn in Germany. [more]
Organized by the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on AI for Humanity
Recent publications include an almost overwhelming number of reports
showing the various ways in which AI can be used for public good. However, the
impacts of the development and applications of these AI systems in the
public-sphere are not limited to the present day; their effects will span
generations, just as systems encoded into our social fabric in past generations
still influence our lives today.
In many cases the true consequences of the design and use of AI are yet to be thoroughly assessed, evaluated and balanced. These impacts can concern the environment (e.g. carbon emissions generated while training and tuning AI models) or people more directly (e.g. power asymmetries between those that do and do not have access to the technology), or, of course and ultimately, both at once. Many of these costs are intra-generational and also span across current generations as well as generations yet to come. The purpose of this panel is to explore the nature, significance, and depth of intergenerational challenges related to AI, and grapple with how we might tackle those issues.
Click here to view the report.
Dept. of Information Studies and Dept. of African American Studies
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Co-Director, UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2)
Co-Director, Minderoo Initiative on Technology & Power
Research student at the Institute for Science and Ethics
University of Bonn, Germany
Founder of Māori Lab, a service that brings indigenous thinking and values into companies and organisations to do 2 things; demonstrate how our inclusive, sustainable, collective well-being perspective is the mindset needed for a thriving future for all of us, and, in doing so, begin to open the door for other unheard world views to help mitigate the harm of bias in AI. I am also a Māori advisor to MIND LAB, a private tertiary institution in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Co-founder DataEhics.eu, principal investigator of the Data Pollution and Power Initiative by the Bonn University's Institute for Science and Ethic's Sustainable AI Lab.
Lorena is founder of the initiative The Ethical Tech Society. Her research focuses on the ethics of digitalization and automation and, in this context, on questions of legal philosophy. She was appointed 2017 by the Government of Spain in the Council of Eminent Persons on Artificial Intelligence and reappointed 2020 to the Government’s National Advisory Board on Artificial Intelligence. [more]
Aimee van Wynsberghe has been working in ICT and robotics since 2004. She began her career as part of a research team working with surgical robots in Canada at CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies and Advance Robotics). She is the Alexander von Humboldt Professor for Applied Ethics of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Bonn in Germany. Aimee is co-founder and co-director of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics and on the board of the Institute for Accountability in a Digital Age. She is a 2018 L'Oreal Unesco 'For Women in Science' laureate. Aimee also serves as a member of the European Commission's High-Level Expert Group on AI and is a founding board member of the Netherlands AI Alliance. She is a founding editor for the international peer-reviewed journal AI & Ethics (Springer Nature) and a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Futures Council on Artificial Intelligence and Humanity. Aimee has been named one of the Netherlands top 400 influential women under 38 by VIVA and was named one of the 25 ‘women in robotics you need to know about’. She is author of the book Healthcare Robots: Ethics, Design, and Implementation and has been awarded an NWO personal research grant to study how we can responsibly design service robots. She has been interviewed by BBC, Quartz, Financial Times, and other International news media on the topic of ethics and robots, and is often invited to speak at International conferences and summits.
Larissa Bolte is currently a master’s student of philosophy at the University of Bonn and a student assistant at the Institute for Science and Ethics. Larissa graduated from the University of Bonn with a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy and psychology in 2019 having completed the Honors Program in 2019 as well. Larissa has worked at the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences for more than 1,5 years as a research assistant. She has also been working as a tutor for both moral philosophy and logic at the University of Bonn and co-organizes the “InterChair Kolloquium”, a well-established and student-run colloquium at the university’s philosophy department.
Jamila Nachid is a bachelor’s student of German Studies and Philosophy [educ.] at the University of Bonn and has studied at the University of St Andrews as well. Along with being a tutor for ethics at the university’s philosophy department, she is presently working as a student research assistant at the Institute for Science and Ethics (IWE). Jamila has also been a student research assistant at the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences (DRZE) for 2,5 years. Focussing on topics like bioethics, human rights and the SDGs, she has previously completed courses and workshops offered by Amnesty International, HarvardX and the University of Bonn. Together with Aimee and Larissa, she is a guest editor of the special issue that is associated with the Sustainable AI Conference (Journal Sustainability). For the second year in a row, Jamila is granted the Deutschlandstipendium which is a national and merit-based scholarship.
We are very pleased to announce the
collaboration between the Institute
for Science and Ethics and the international Journal
Sustainability. Interested researchers are invited to submit
a paper for our edited volume on the topic of: “Towards the Sustainability of
AI. Multi-Disciplinary Approaches To Investigate the Hidden Costs of AI”. The
deadline for submission is February 28, 2022.*
* Please note that you will not have to pay the article processing charge indicated on the website. This will be covered by our Institute.