Ireland is part of a four-nation collaboration to create an ethics-based master’s degree in artificial intelligence (AI).
The course is expected to come to TU Dublin next year, and will focus on human and ethical issues around designing AI.
CeADAR, Ireland’s national centre for applied data analytics and AI based at University College Dublin, will collaborate with researchers across Europe to develop the course, which will also be offered at universities in The Netherlands, Italy and Hungary.
“AI is being used more and more in everyday life, it is becoming ubiquitous in our homes,” said Oisín Boydell, principal data scientist at CeADAR.
“As the integration is so rapid, we need to be examining the implications of all this technology on the end-users – humans. We are good at looking at the technical side of AI, but we also need to understand, from a human focus, why we are using this AI and put humans in control of it.”
Dublin-based company Nathean Technologies spearheaded the project from the Irish end, which is backed by €2.25m in EU funding. The total cost of the project is expected to be €3m.
The funding stems from the EU’s commitment to developing what they call “trustworthy AI,” a goal shared by the Irish government, which recently shared its plans for a “people-centred, ethical approach to AI”.
This is why the programme is being created not just to educate students on AI but also to research AI and its relationship with people. The course’s students will study the technology and its implications based on cutting edge academic research on the topic through surveys and focus groups.
“Europe is putting ethical requirements at the heart of AI development to protect the rights of the individual,” Boydell said.
“The target for this programme is to develop graduates who can apply cutting-edge AI technology with human-centred principles built in from the beginning. Graduates of this programme will provide an advantage to early adopters of ethical AI approaches.”
Masters degrees in artificial intelligence already exist in schools across Ireland, including Dublin Business School, Ul and NUIG. Still, the new ethics based initiative adds another layer to a country heading towards a more autonomous future.
Devin Sean Martin