Conversational AI: Fundamentals, Recent Developments, and Ethical Considerations

Prof. Anne Lauscher

19 July 2023

9:30 am - 12:15 pm

This event is part of the Safe and Trusted AI Summer School 2023. The Summer School is core for STAI CDT PhD students, and open to a limited number of other students, by invitation.

One of the most interesting Natural Language Processing applications to date is Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI): it enables users to interact with an AI system in the way they would with other humans – through natural language dialogs. Just recently, such systems have gained more and more attention and reached the general public, with hundreds of millions of users every day. However, this technology also bears some ethical risks, for instance, relating to unfair biases and stereotypes encoded in the underlying models as well as to their environmental footprint. In this module, the students will learn about the fundamentals of conversational AI systems and recent developments in the field. Afterwards, we will discuss some of the ethical risks. For each issue, we will (a) discuss the technical origin of the issue, (b) the nature of its (negative) impact, and (c) how to mitigate those issues.

Please see a video of Prof. Anne Lauscher’s talk below:

About the speaker

Prof. Anne Lauscher (ˈanə ˈlaʊ̯ʃɐ, she/her) is an Associate Professor of Data Science at the University of Hamburg, where her research group investigates Conversational AI systems with a focus on fair, inclusive, and sustainable communication. Before, she was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the NLP group at Bocconi University (Milan, Italy). She obtained her Ph.D., awarded with the highest honors (summa cum laude), from the Data and Web Science group at the University of Mannheim (Germany). During her studies, she interned at and became an independent research contractor for Grammarly Inc. (New York City, U.S.) and the Allen Institute for AI (Seattle, U.S.). Her research gets regularly published at international top-tier NLP (e.g., ACL, EMNLP, etc.) and AI (e.g., AAAI) venues and has been recognized with multiple awards. For instance, in 2022, she was nominated for the German Informatics Society Dissertation Award and named one of the “100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics for 2023”.