IEAI Team recently traveled to TUM partner university – Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana to attend the Responsible AI and Ethics – A Panacea to Digital Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa Conference

On the 13th and 14th of March 2023, members of the IEAI team: Dr. Caitlin Corrigan, Dr. Alexander Kriebitz, Dr. Lameck Amungongo, Dr. Raphael Max, and Laud Ammah participated in the 2-day conference on “Responsible AI and Ethics – A Panacea to Digital Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa” organized by The Responsible Artificial Intelligence Lab (RAIL) and the Responsible Artificial Intelligence Network Africa (RAIN-Africa). Among other, the topics of AI in healthcare, AI and human rights, “AI for Good” applications, and the role of Afrocentric datasets in promoting responsible AI in Africa were discussed.

In the opening remarks of the conference, Prof. Rita Akosua Dickson, Vice-Chancellor, KNUST, elaborated on the mission of RAIN-Africa to create opportunities for interdisciplinary research and collaboration, which would simultaneously help transform the digital economy of the region, all while respecting individual and human rights. This was further corroborated by Prof. Kwabena Biritwum Nyarko, from the Provost of the College of Engineering, as he emphasized how AI is transforming the fabric of society, thus creating the need to address the challenges of AI in data privacy, bias, and other ethical concerns.

Prof. Jerry John Kponyo, the Principal Investigator and Scientific Director of RAIL and Cofounder of RAIN-Africa, then explained the origins of the Conference and the joint work of the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering at KNUST and the Institute of Ethics in Artificial Intelligence (IEAI). Dr. Caitlin Corrigan then presented the motivation and history of the IEAI/TUM and RAIL/KUNST partnership to form RAIN-Africa. This effort aims at strengthening interdisciplinary research and collaborations with universities and other stakeholders worldwide.

Over the next two days, many researchers from TUM, KNUST and from Africa presented their current research, had panel discussions and gave keynote talks. Building off their MELISSA – Mobile Artificial Intelligence Solution for Diabetes Adaptive Care work, Dr. Kriebitz spoke about human rights approach to AI ethics and Dr. Amungongo about integrating Ubuntu ethics in AI ethics. Dr. Max presented on work related to AI, bias and the financial sector and Mr. Ammah shared his research on using machine learning to treat rare diseases.

Dr. Corrigan also spoke about the current IEAI project The Potential for AI in the Extractive Industries to Promote Multi-objective Optimization. In addition to this talk, she was able to follow up on the project research by going to one of the mining regions used as a case study with a visit AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi Gold Mine. This visit, organized by the KNUST Department of Land Economy was follow up by a hybrid workshop between the other project members and the KNUST department to brainstorm about data sources for the project.

The 2-day “Responsible AI and Ethics” conference was well attended with at least 500 people joining over the two days. In particular, RAIL has collaborated with Senior High Schools in the sub-Saharan region to “build capacity in robotics by setting up robotics clubs with the intention of providing the needed support for those who want to consider STEM as a career.” Many of these students were able to attend the event. The TUM group had the pleasure of hearing from and talking to many enthusiastic High School students, as well as undergraduate computer science students throughout the conference. There was a strong interest in connecting KNUST students with TUM students going forward, which is one of the next steps for our RAIN-Africa related work.

The conference concluded with and closing remarks by Professor Jerry John Kponyo and Dr. Caitlin Corrigan about the next steps for RAIN-Africa. The TUM group was thrilled to take part in this amazing conference and was overwhelmed with the hospitality of the KNUST team.

We hope to send another delegation to Ghana very soon and look forward to our KNUST partners visiting TUM in the coming years.