A new £12million AI for Collective Intelligence (AI4CI) Hub, led by the University of Bristol, and involving researchers from the GW4 Alliance universities of Bath, Cardiff and Exeter, alongside the institutions of Glasgow, Ulster and UCL, has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) as part of an £80million national initiative to boost AI capabilities.
The AI4CI Hub, led by Professor Seth Bullock, Toshiba Chair in Data Science at the University of Bristol, will form part of a new network of nine Artificial Intelligence (AI) research hubs located across the UK.
From combating cyber threats, to supporting better health treatments, the hubs will be designed to deliver next generation technologies, innovations and research. Research conducted at the hubs will enable AI to evolve and tackle complex problems and global challenges, with a key focus on human-centred design crosscutting all themes.
The AI4C Hub is a five year collaboration and will develop new machine learning and smart agent technologies fuelled by real-time data streams in order to achieve collective intelligence for individuals and national agencies across healthcare, pandemics, cities, finance, and environment.
Hub Director Professor Bullock, said: “Our Hub's main aim is to put useful AI in the hands of regular people, especially those who might otherwise not benefit from it. Modern AI is driven by huge amounts of data collected from us and Collective Intelligence research is about enabling us to benefit directly from the AI systems that data fuels. We can’t wait to get started.”
Dr Theresa Smith, co-lead for the University of Bath component of the project, said: “All of us are impacted by AI – this new project will allow us to collaboratively design new sustainable and responsible approaches that integrate large-scale data streams to support individual and collective decision-making for everyday challenges”.
Professor Phillip Morgan of Cardiff University’s School of Psychology said: “As a multidisciplinary team we will deliver cutting-edge research to optimise ‘smart’ human and AI decision making for key areas such as environmental intelligence, financial stability, healthcare ecosystems, pandemic resilience, and smart city design.”
Professor Hywel Williams, an expert in Environmental Data Science from the University of Exeter, and part of the new hub said: “The AI4CI Hub will study how humans and machines interact in social, group or collaborative settings – for example, smart cities, transport, financial markets, or social media. This has many applications for environmental sustainability, where we hope to steer complex social/technological systems towards greener trajectories.”
Tackling global challenges through advanced cyber and digital is a core strategic priority of the GW4 Alliance, with the Alliance uniquely placed to take a prime role in advancing cyber and digital transformation.
GW4 Alliance Director, Dr Joanna Jenkinson MBE, said: “This announcement is fantastic news for the GW4 Alliance universities and their collaborators. Artificial Intelligence presents the UK with a number of exciting, transformational opportunities and, across the Alliance, we have already seen success in a number of AI-based projects, including GW4 Isambard. With the University of Bristol also soon to be home to Isambard-AI, I am looking forward to seeing the impact that our region is able to achieve with the addition of the AI4CI Hub.”
The nine hubs will be led by eight universities and work across the whole of the UK, underlining the UK’s commitment to maintaining a leadership position in AI research, innovation and ethical deployment.
Professor Charlotte Deane, Executive Chair of EPSRC, said: “These hubs will deliver revolutionary AI innovations and tools in sectors from healthcare to energy, smart cities and environment. They will achieve this by solving key challenges and improving our understanding of AI helping to drive the increased productivity and economic growth promised by this technology.”