New professor leads the initiative for AI as a research tool

8 June 2020

Thomas Schön

“There is no doubt that what we’re developing will have an impact on us. The question is how we want that to happen,” says Thomas Schön, new professor of artificial intelligence.

Use of AI and large quantities of data are increasing continuously and will influence tomorrow’s society. Major initiatives in the field are underway both nationally and internationally. Uppsala University recently decided to establish a professorship in artificial intelligence with funding from the Kjell and Märta Beijer Foundation. The initiative will be led by Thomas Schön, who is now taken the Beijer professorship in artificial intelligence.

“Artificial intelligence is here to stay and continues to impact our lives to an ever-increasing extent,” says Thomas Schön. “Like all technology we develop, it has both positive and negative sides. It is therefore necessary for us to understand the full implications of what we’re creating, while using it to solve the most important challenges we face.”

With the five-year AI for Research initiative, Uppsala University is taking an interdisciplinary approach to developing the new technology. The vision is for AI for Research to contribute to parallel and interacting projects that will live on at the departments and renew both research and teaching at Uppsala University.

“My hope is that AI for Research will help us to reflect sensibly on how this technology affects us as a species today, and how we want it to affect us in the future and help us create the right kind of technology,” says Thomas Schön. “There is no doubt that what we’re developing will have an impact on us. The question is how we want that to happen.”

ABOUT THE BEIJER PROFESSORSHIP

The Beijer professorship in artificial intelligence has been made possible by a grant from the Kjell and Märta Beijer Foundation of SEK 15 million over a five-year period. Since 1990, the Beijer Foundation has donated approximately SEK 150 million to Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences for genetic and neuroscientific research, pharmaceutical research and research on pets. The three areas cooperate under the common name the Beijer Laboratories in Uppsala.