AI: Facts, Fictions, Futures

Loughborough University’s Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) is delighted to announce AI: Facts, Fictions, Futures, as the IAS Annual Theme for 2021-22. IAS Annual Themes run across the academic year, bringing leading international researchers to the University to work with colleagues in areas of established and emergent research excellence, catalysed by the Theme.

AI: Facts, Fictions, Futures is led by Prof Jin Xuan (AACME), Dr Lise Jaillant (SSH), Prof Qinggang Meng, (Comp Sci), Dr Amalia Sabiescu (Loughborough London), Prof Andrew Morris (DCA) and Prof Mohammed Quddus, (ABCE).

The development of artificial intelligence is largely computer science based, but its real-world applications are truly interdisciplinary. AI: Facts, Fictions, Futures examines the interdisciplinary developments and applications of AI alongside its social impact and consequences.

Through an exciting programme running over the course of the academic year, the IAS will welcome globally leading researchers in the field to Loughborough to work collaboratively with LU colleagues to explore the dynamic terrain of AI in contemporary life.

AI: Facts, Fictions, Futures is organised through a series of cross-disciplinary strands:

Launch of the IAS Annual Theme AI: Facts, Fictions, Futures
Film Screening, followed by a Panel Discussion
Wednesday 17 November 2021

Coded Bias (2020)
A documentary by Shalini Kantayya

The IAS Annual Theme of 2021-22 was launched in November with an in person screening of Shalini Kantayya’s multi-award-winning documentary Coded Bias, followed by a panel discussion Chaired by Professor Jin Xuan (AACME), Co-Lead of the IAS Theme, that included IAS Visiting Fellows, invited scholars and Loughborough’s new Vice Chancellor, Professor Nick Jennings.

Focusing on MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s discovery that many facial recognition technologies misclassify women and darker-skinned faces, Coded Bias raises compelling issues regarding the ubiquity of AI in everyday life and the impact of widespread algorithmic bias on matters of social justice, equity and governance. W‌atch the Coded Bias trailer.

AI for Interdisciplinary Scientific Discovery
Thursday 27th January 2022

Following a successful launch event in November, the IAS Annual Theme 'AI: Facts, Fictions, Futures' continued with a hybrid event based at the Loughborough London Campus.

Our Fellows shared fascinating stories of scientific discovery made possible by Artificial Intelligence, from the design of engineering materials to drug molecules. They explored how AI techniques transcend discipline boundaries and open a new world of discovery.
How can we go beyond the perception of AI as a “dark art”, and build transparent discovery routes that win public trust? How can we communicate effectively both across disciplines and to our wider global community? These questions (and more) received a worthwhile airing in this event.

Convened by: Jin Xuan, Valerie Pinfield, Amalia Sabiescu

IAS Visiting Fellows in residence:
Ankit Agrawal, Northwestern University
Gareth Conduit, Cambridge University
Raffaella Ocone, Heriot-Watt University
Isao Tanaka, Kyoto University

AI and Cultural Heritage
Monday 28th March 2022

The role and impact of AI is not limited to the scientific area; it also has enormous significance for society and culture. In the course of this event, our Fellows and invited speakers considered applications of AI and digital technology in the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) sector, examining the collection, analysis, and dissemination of cultural heritage data, how this information might be experienced, and the ethical issues raised by these processes.

Convened by: Lise Jaillant, Amalia Sabiescu, Rachael Grew

IAS Visiting Fellows in residence:
Ryan Cordell, University of Illinois 
Ahmed Elgammal, Rutgers University
Chao Tayiana Maina, African Digital Heritage
Oonagh Murphy, Goldsmiths
Güzden Varinlioğlu, Izmir University of Economics
Claire Warwick, Durham University
Victoria Lemieux, The University of British Columbia 

Unlocking the Power of Artificial Intelligence for Real World Challenges
Tuesday 26th April 2022

AI is widely used in many different real-world application areas. However, this creates its own challenges with a number of research questions for the AI community to develop more advanced AI algorithms. In this event, six world-leading researchers will share their project research experience on both the fundamentals of AI and its applications. It covers psychologically and biologically inspired cognition development for robots; neuromorphic sensors and computing; combining AI, model based control and embodied intelligence; crossmodal learning, integration of knowledge and learning; cooperative AI for integration into society; and explainable deep learning.

Convened by:  Qinggang Meng, Georgina Cosma, Wen-hua Chen, Haibin Cai, Syeda Fatima

IAS Visiting Fellows in residence:
Plamen Angelov, Lancaster University
Jianwei Zhang, University of Hamburg
Angelo Cangelosi, University of Manchester
Bram Vanderborght, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Kate Larson, University of Waterloo
Shih-Chii Liu,  ETH Zürich

AI: Debating the Impacts, Crafting the Futures
Tuesday 5th July 2022

As part of the IAS Annual Theme 'AI: Facts, Fictions, Futures', this hybrid event brought together leadings academics to discuss the social and ethical implications of AI.

Voices in the academia, technology industry and civil society are increasingly critical of the implications raised by the growing pervasiveness and ubiquity of AI in all domains of social, economic and political life. From racial bias and discrimination to politically motivated decision-making algorithms, a plethora of high-profile cases appear to justify the critique that after all, the design and deployment of AI is all too human, hence subject to human bias and fallacy. As we approach the closing of the IAS Annual Theme series on AI: Facts, Fictions, Futures, this event will bring together academics in the social sciences, humanities and technology studies to debate the current impacts of AI and suggest principles for alternative futures. 

Convened by:  Amalia Sabiescu, Lise Jaillant, Adrian Leguina

IAS Visiting Fellows in residence:
Veronica Barassi, University of St Gallen, Switzerland
Stephen Cave, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, Cambridge University
Virginia Dignum, Umeå University, Delft University of Technology
Lauren Klein, Emory University
Jonathan Roberge, National Institute of Scientific Research, Canada

AI and Smart Mobility
Thursday 25th August 2022

Smart mobility is rich in data. There is enormous potential within the transport sector for using AI to address pressing challenges in sustainability and resilience, as well as fulfilling broader societal objectives of inclusion and equity. AI is already commonplace in many everyday Transport Systems and will become even more prevalent as technology evolves, particularly with rapid developments in Autonomous Vehicles. Our Fellows will discuss state of the art and propose how Autonomous Vehicles and future Transport Systems based on AI implementation will better meet and shape the growing and ever-changing demand for mobility while reducing its carbon footprint to meet net-zero goals.

Convened by:  Andrew Morris, Haitao He

IAS Visiting Fellows in residence:
Mohamed Abdel-Aty, University of Central Florida
Kay Axhausen, ETH Zurich
Sebastien Glaser, CARRS-Q, Queensland University of Technology
Nigel Wilson, MIT CEE
Andy Rakotonirainy, CARRS-Q, Queensland University of Technology
Juan de Dios Ortúzar, Department of Transport Engineering and Logistics, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Xuesong Wang, Tongji University