A quiet rev­o­lu­tion

THE (Times Higher Education) - - KING'S COLLEGE LONDON -

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.

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