With the Public Advisory Board (PAB), Cyber Valley has established an independent committee to evaluate research projects with regard to their ethical and social implications. Europe's largest research cooperation in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) thus creates an additional element of transparency.
The members of the PAB were appointed by Theresia Bauer, Baden-Württemberg's Minister of Science, Research and the Arts. The PAB’s role is to review project proposals from Cyber Valley research groups prior to approval by the Cyber Valley Research Fund Board. The Cyber Valley Research Fund Board is a joint commission of the partners from politics, science and industry in which the academic representatives have the majority. It decides on the basis of scientific excellence which research projects are to be financed with funds from the Research Fund. Only the Cyber Valley research groups can apply for Cyber Valley Research Fund money. The Cyber Valley Research Fund finances free research projects, i.e. projects that are not specified by industry, even though it is the industrial partners who fill the funding pot. It has a volume of 5 million euros for the next five years.
The members of the PAB have access to all funding applications and are thus in a position to check, on which projects the funds are spent. The PAB members participate in the meetings of the Research Fund Board. They can ask for further information, make recommendations, express concerns and engage in a debate.
The appointed members come from different areas of science and society and thus represent a broad spectrum of relevant disciplines and backgrounds:
- Prof. Dr. Regina Ammicht Quinn is a Professor of Ethics at the International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW) at the University of Tübingen and Head of the Department of Society, Culture and Technical Change, where she deals with ethical issues of digital life and digital technology development.
- Prof. Dr. Heinrich Bülthoff is Emeritus Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen. As head of the department "Human Perception, Cognition and Action" he researches the fundamental processes of human perception and behaviour in virtual environments.
- Prof. Dr. Armin Grunwald is Professor of Technology Philosophy and Head of the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Head of the Office for Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag.
- Prof. Dr. Dr. Ulrich Hemel is Director of the Weltethos-Institute in Tübingen, which accompanies and shapes the critical dialogue on the topic of ethics and AI in general as well as specifically on Cyber Valley with conferences, public events and lectures.
- Lorena Jaume-Palasí is the Founder of the non-profit organization The Ethical Tech Society, which at the interface of technology, ethics and society pursues the goal of researching processes of automation and digitization and classifying them normatively with regard to their social relevance. As a member of the High-Level Expert Group on AI of the EU, she was involved in the development of the European ethical guidelines for trustworthy AI.
- Prof. Dr. Sandra Richter is the Director of the German Literature Archive in Marbach, where she deals with digitalization and products of digital culture as well as the question of how digital technologies can be used in literary and cultural mediation.
- Katharina Schmidt is Founder of the AI start-up apic.ai, which uses artificial intelligence to investigate the causes of bee mortality. The company thus demonstrates a successful application of AI in the field of environmental protection and nature conservation. She is also involved in the G-Lab research project at the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences. Based on her experience in founding her own company, she develops new concepts for the promotion of a start-up culture among University students and supports the cooperation of Universities with start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises.
- Lukas Weber is a committed representative and Co-organizer of the Fridays for Future activities in Heidelberg and a student at the University of Heidelberg. He is committed to taking a closer look at the consequences for future generations of today's decisions that will strongly shape and change our society, such as the further development and application of artificial intelligence.
- Nicola Wettmarshausen is a Journalist with a focus on science, environment and technology and founder of the citizen science initiative EcoCurious, which uses innovative projects and do-it-yourself formats to explore new applications for digital technologies and create new perspectives for an even closer exchange between science and society..
- In addition, an elected member of the Tübingen Municipal Council will be appointed to the committee, based on the great commitment in shaping and accompanying the local discourse on the Cyber Valley initiative in a constructive and critical manner.