Prof. Dr. Vincent C. Müller receives most prestigious international research prize in Germany

Prof. Dr. Vincent C. Müller
Prof. Dr. Vincent C. Müller (Image: Bart van Overbeeke/TU Eindhoven)

For AI with a human touch

An ongoing success: For the fifth time in a row and for the eighth time altogether, a researcher nominated by FAU has been chosen for a Humboldt professorship: This year Prof. Dr. Vincent C. Müller shall receive the most prestigious international research prize in Germany.

As a pioneer in the young discipline of the philosophy and ethics of artificial intelligence (AI) and as a mediator between the humanities and technology, Prof. Müller aims to develop a guiding vision for ‘human-centred AI’ in Germany. He is to receive 3.5 million euros in funding.

Artificial intelligence is slowly becoming part and parcel of all areas of life. The more we use AI, the more it becomes apparent that we need certain standards and a clear framework to ensure that AI is developed and used in a moral, responsible and human-centred way. Otherwise, we run the risk of certain groups of people becoming excluded and placed at a disadvantage.

Researching and implementing responsible AI is still a very young discipline, and Prof. Dr. Vincent C. Müller is one of the pioneers in the field. His interest in the philosophy and ethics of artificial intelligence began even before the topic sparked wider public debate.

Not only that, he also has an excellent reputation in the field of computer science, and is one of the few people to have been appointed as a fellow to the Alan Turing Institute in London in spite of having a background in another discipline.

He provides advice to those responsible for political decisions, for example sharing his expertise in the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence, a global initiative in which Germany is also involved and which was launched in 2020 to encourage the responsible development and use of AI.

As a Humboldt professor at FAU, Prof. Vincent C. Müller hopes to bridge the gap between technical know-how and expertise in the humanities and to reach out beyond the university to industry and public administration. He will be responsible for establishing a new international and interdisciplinary Centre for Philosophy and AI Research (PAIR), the future hub for AI philosophy at FAU.

A collaboration is also being planned with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS) in Erlangen to encourage the development of trustworthy AI systems. Vincent C. Müller has been chosen for the Humboldt professorship and is currently negotiating the conditions for his appointment to FAU.

If the negotiations come to a favourable conclusion, the prize will be awarded in 2022.

About the new Humboldt professor

Vincent C. Müller is originally from Germany, but has been a professor of philosophy and ethics at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands since 2019. He obtained his doctoral degree from Universität Hamburg in 1999. He went on from there to become an assistant, then an associate and finally a full professor at Anatolia College in Thessaloniki, Greece. He has had several stays as a visiting professor at universities in the USA and the UK (2005 to 2006 in Princeton, 2011 to 2014 in Oxford, 2016 in Leeds, 2018 Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute in London). He is the president of EUCognition – European Society for Cognitive Systems and the chairman of the Topic Group ‘Ethical, Legal and Socio-economic issues’ at euRobotics, the international non-profit association for stakeholders in the European robotics sector.

About the award

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation awards this professorship to internationally leading researchers from all disciplines who are currently working abroad. The aim of Alexander von Humboldt professorships is to enable German universities to bring top researchers to Germany and to offer them a long-term perspective for their work here. The professorships are funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research and are endowed with up to five million euros over five years.

Further information about the Humboldt professorship

Further information

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