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Aston University sets up AI for social good centre


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Professor Anikó Ekárt with Pepper the robot
Professor Anikó Ekárt with Pepper the robot
Image source: Aston University

Aston University has set up a new centre to work on projects using AI to improve people’s lives.

It said it wants the Aston Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research and Application (ACAIRA) to become a West Midlands hub for relevant projects and is now looking to work with organisations and the public.

Professor Anikó Ekárt, director of ACAIRA, said: “There have been a lot of reports focusing on the negative use of AI and subsequent fear of AI. This is why the centre is so important now, as we aim to achieve trustworthy, ethical and sustainable AI solutions for the future, by co-designing them with stakeholders.”

Deputy director Dr Ulysses Bernadet added: “We work with local, national and international institutions from academia, industry, and the public sector, expanding Aston University’s external reach in AI research and application.

“ACAIRA will benefit our students enormously by training them to become the next generation of AI practitioners and researchers equipped for future challenges.”

Existing projects

The centre, which is part of the university’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, is already involved in various projects to meet societal challenges. It includes research in sectors including traffic management, with a system that enables traffic lights to react to live camera footage.

Other areas include social robotics, bioinformatics, health and virtual humans.

The centre’s academics also work closely with West Midlands AI and Future Tech Forum


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