A quiet revolution
Artificial intelligence, says Michael Luck, executive dean of the Faculty of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, “works quietly in the background” across King’s. It spans basic and applied research in every faculty, involving computer scientists, neuroscientists, philosophers and others, although most AI research is carried out within the Faculty of Natural and Mathematical Sciences.
The faculty houses the Agents and Intelligent Systems research group, the Centre for Robotics Research and the Centre for Telecommunications Research – world leaders in the “Internet of Things”.
“In previous generations, AI was typically concerned with individual capabilities,” says Luck. “Today... the power of computing arises from the interconnection of machines with other machines and with humans.”
King’s AI researchers aim to harness this power for the improvement of life in the capital and beyond: for instance, through a collaborative project with Transport for London on AI planning for urban traffic control systems, which could respond to accidents and major events, and accommodate self-driving vehicles.
Accelerating societal upheaval resulting from the rise in AI gives the university’s research on the subject a high public profile, and King’s academics frequently appear in the media, while local schoolchildren engage with “growbotics” workshops, based around King’s’ work on intelligent horticultural robotics.
Meanwhile, through colleagues in the Policy Institute and other departments, AI research at King’s informs policymaking at the highest levels.