Analyzing the challenges posed by Artificial Intelligence at the 4th Heidelberg Laureate Forum

Experts discuss the costs and benefits created by developments brought on by Artificial Intelligence.

In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has established itself at the forefront of technological innovation. That is precisely why AI is the focus of the Hot Topic at the 4th Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF), ‘AI: From Lofty Dream to Technology Driver’, this September 20 at the New University in Heidelberg. The session is comprised of a panel discussion with leading researchers debating the current scientific trends in AI and its applications. That is followed by a broader discussion that dives into how the developments in AI affect our lives and society. The Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF) is driven to foster the opportunity for progressive discourse, and the Hot Topic session is a crucial component of that goal.

Today, AI is no longer a brash, cryptic concept taken directly from the pages of science fiction. The developments owed to the technology based on AI have altered what we thought possible and has done so in a much quicker fashion than was predicted. The power behind these advancements is already very evident with self-driving cars or algorithms that profile our internet activity in order to tailor ads and search results. Though fascinating, this progress comes with a price of control and privacy loss that incites ethical questions.

A focal point of the session is Deep Learning and the capabilities of these artificial neural networks composed of several layers. Now these networks are not only amassing data in amounts that was simply inconceivable before but are also able to enhance or dilute connections made with that information; thus learning from the knowledge acquired.

The influence that AI has already had and will impose on our future can be the source of energetic and impassioned debates. Researchers from an array of backgrounds take to stage at the 4th HLF to offer their insights and lay the groundwork for a lively discussion. The Hot Topic session takes place from 15:00-17:00 on September 20, 2016.


Vint Cerf is Google’s Vice President and „Chief Internet Evangelist“. He won the ACM A.M. Turing Award in 2004 for his pioneering work on the Internet and he is recognized as one of the “fathers of the Internet”.

Thomas Dreier is the Director of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). His research fields are legal aspects of the information society and of new technologies as well as copyright law.

Dirk Helbing is Professor of Computational Social Science at the ETH in Zurich. He works on modeling social processes with mathematical means and is one of the signatories of the “Digital Manifesto” in which several German scientists have expressed their concerns about the social applications of modern digital technologies.

Jim Hendler is Professor of Computer, Web and Cognitive Sciences at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the state of New York. He will give an introduction into current AI technologies.

Raj Reddy from Carnegie Mellon University won the ACM A.M. Turing Award in 1994. He was the founding director of CMU’s robotics lab, and his latest research centers around “Technology in Service of Society”.

Holger Schwenk is a research scientist at Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research Paris. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University Paris 6 in 1996, and prior to joining Facebook in 2015, he was professor for computer science at the University of Le Mans where he led a large group on statistical machine translation.

Noel Sharkey, an Emeritus Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the University of Sheffield, chairs the International Committee for Robot Arms Control and is a co-founder of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics.

The Hot Topic has been coordinated and will be moderated by Christoph Drösser who holds a diploma in mathematics and was a longtime science editor and reporter for DIE ZEIT, Germany’s major weekly paper. He now works as a freelance writer in San Francisco, USA.

The Hot Topic will be held in the New Auditorium of Heidelberg University, Grabengasse 1, 69117 Heidelberg. Journalists interested in covering the Hot Topic of 4th HLF need to register via the following link as soon as possible:

The Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF) annually organizes the Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF), which is a networking event for mathematicians and computer scientists from all over the world. The 4th Heidelberg Laureate Forum will take place from September 18 to 23, 2016. The HLF was initiated by the German foundation Klaus Tschira Stiftung (KTS), which promotes natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS). The Forum is organized by the HLFF along with the KTS, and it is strongly supported by the award-granting institutions, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM: ACM A.M. Turing Award), the International Mathematical Union (IMU: Fields Medal, Nevanlinna Prize), and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (DNVA: Abel Prize).

To the Editors
With this press release, we would like to extend an invitation to attend the Forum as well as to report on the event. Journalists that wish to cover the 4th HLF can use the following link:

Press Inquiries/Contact for Journalists
Wylder Green
Christiane Schirok
Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation
Schloss-Wolfsbrunnenweg 33, 69118 Heidelberg, Germany
Telephone: +49-6221-533-384

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