How Does AI Communicate? — I'm a Scientist Recap

From 13–22 June 2023, the online pro­gramme I'm a Sci­ent­ist — Get me out of here went into the next round. 26 research­ers provided answers for the curi­ous ques­tions of over 400 stu­dents on the top­ic: "How does AI communicate?"

I'm a Sci­ent­ist is a cooper­a­tion between Wis­senschaft im Dia­log and the RHET AI Cen­ter and has facil­it­ated the exchange between sci­ent­ists and stu­dents since 2020. Over the course of the pro­ject, school classes have the oppor­tun­ity to par­ti­cip­ate in 30-minute live chats with three to five research­ers and ask them ques­tions about a spe­cif­ic research top­ic. In June, the top­ic was "How does AI com­mu­nic­ate?" The research­ers answer the ques­tions to the best of their abil­ity, as at the end of each ses­sion the stu­dents get to vote on who gave the best answers. After the final live chat on the top­ic, the votes are added up and the sci­ent­ist with the most votes wins a prize of 500€, which can be used to fund their own sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion project.

From pre­vi­ous I'm a Sci­ent­ist rounds, very dif­fer­ent pro­jects have already emerged. Dr. Dav­id Spen­cer, win­ner of the "Cli­mate Change" round, for example, used the prize money to start the You­Tube chan­nel "Kraut­nah", on which he provides inform­a­tion about cli­mate-friendly options for plant cul­tiv­a­tion in the future and vari­ous top­ics related to it. For Prof. Tim Kiet­zmann from the "Know­ledge" theme round, the vic­tory at I'm a Sci­ent­ist gave the start­ing sig­nal for the Sci­ence Com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­ject "Brain­Buzz — dis­cov­er the fas­cin­at­ing world of cog­nit­ive sci­ence" at the Uni­ver­sity of Osnab­rück. Upper school stu­dents can learn more about the fields of mod­ern brain research and cog­nit­ive sci­ence with­in the project.

The ques­tion of the last round: "How does AI com­mu­nic­ate?" was met with great interest by the stu­dents, which exten­ded far bey­ond the ques­tion into the most diverse fields of research on arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence. 32 live chats took place in this round and were char­ac­ter­ised by a lively exchange. The stu­dents came to the ses­sions well pre­pared and asked ques­tions at a very high level, not only about the top­ic, but also about the every­day life and pro­jects of the researchers.

The win­ner this time was Dr Karsten Weber, who has already par­ti­cip­ated sev­er­al times in I'm a Sci­ent­ist. He would like to use the prize money to report on his research on tech­no­logy assess­ment in a com­pre­hens­ible way and with great­er reach. How­ever, the prize money is not his motiv­a­tion to par­ti­cip­ate in the format again and again, but rather the stu­dents' thirst for know­ledge and the real­isa­tion that many are afraid when it comes to the top­ic of AI and its con­sequences. As a sci­ent­ist, he sees it as one of his respons­ib­il­it­ies to coun­ter­act this fear with well-com­mu­nic­ated facts and information.

The next round con­tin­ues after the sum­mer hol­i­days. From 25–29 Septem­ber 2023, school classes can par­ti­cip­ate in live chats on the top­ic of "Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence", regard­less of loc­a­tion and level. Par­ti­cip­a­tion is free of charge, regis­tra­tion is pos­sible via the pro­ject page.