The University of York has set up a living lab to reassure people about Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The £45m Institute for Safe Autonomy (ISA) is being launched as a space to provide research and evidence on how AI is “safe for everyday use”.

Director of ISA Professor Miles Elsden said the technology is already “a big part of our daily lives”.

The institute will provide spaces for small and medium enterprises operating in the field of AI and robotics.

Prof Elsden said “safety assurance” was the key to “underpinning public trust” in autonomous technology.

“These technologies are already a big part of our daily lives, whether it’s part of your mobile phone, Smart TV, or vacuum cleaner, and yet there is a significant number of people that are wary of their development, and we have to ask why that is and how we can address those concerns by evidencing how safe they are for everyday use.”

A robot with a screen on its chest and yellow t-shirtIMAGE SOURCE,THE UNIVERSITY OF YORK
Image caption,

The institute aims to address public concerns about AI

Some of the projects already being worked on include how robots might be safely integrated into triage procedures in emergency hospital departments and how they can be used in social care for basic domestic tasks.

The purpose-built facility provides work and test spaces for more than 100 researchers across a variety of disciplines.

“Its safety experts work in partnership with academia, industry, government and civil society to research safe, ethical, real-world applications for autonomous systems,” the university said.

ISA was established through joint funding from Research England (via the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund), the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the University of York.


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