RHET AI Day 2024

On April 15, we, the RHET AI Cen­ter team got for our annu­al RHET AI Day. Since the RHET AI Cen­ter was foun­ded in 2021, this day has been held as an oppor­tun­ity for reflec­tion and plan­ning. The focus is always on two ques­tions: Where are we as the RHET AI Cen­ter right now? And how do we want to pos­i­tion ourselves and devel­op fur­ther in the future?

The event took place in hybrid form. Some of the par­ti­cipants were con­nec­ted online from Ber­lin and Karls­ruhe, while the major­ity gathered in the guest house of the Uni­ver­sity of Tübingen.

For the first part of the event, reports from the units on the status quo were on the agenda. Unit 1 (Dis­course & Nar­rat­ives) began with a review of the DGPuK annu­al con­fer­ence, which took place in Karls­ruhe in Feb­ru­ary and March and was co-organ­ized by the Unit 1 team. Part of the con­fer­ence was also a read­ing fol­lowed by a pan­el dis­cus­sion with the Aus­tri­an author Jörg Piringer, as well as Prof. Jan Nihues and Prof. Annette Leßmöll­mann. The dis­cus­sion was mod­er­ated by Dr. Thomas Susanka.

In addi­tion to a review of past events, Unit 1 gave an insight into its cur­rent research, in par­tic­u­lar the intern­al debate on the concept of the “black box” in rela­tion to AI. Over the course of two cod­ing days, the term was intens­ively dis­cussed, cat­egor­ies were sharpened and ini­tial res­ults from the cor­pus (con­sist­ing of 1858 Ger­man news­pa­per art­icles) were interpreted.

The Unit 1 team is also involved in the found­ing of the new AI research focus of the Gesell­schaft für Ange­wandte Lin­guistik (GAL). To date, the GAL has 15 sec­tions and two research foci, the start­ing sig­nal for the new focus “Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence” will be giv­en on May 17th, 2024, as part of the Arti­fi­cial Fri­day. With­in this research focus, a net­work of doc­tor­al stu­dents will be estab­lished, and ini­tial res­ults will be presen­ted at the GAL annu­al con­fer­ence in the fall.

Erwin Fey­er­sing­er presen­ted an excerpt from his cur­rent research for Unit 2 (Visu­al Com­mu­nic­a­tion). In it, he deals with the effects of gen­er­at­ive AI on anim­a­tion pro­duc­tion and the res­ult­ing changes for the industry. He cat­egor­ized the cur­rent AI hype in this con­text and gave an assess­ment of the pos­sible poten­tial for the use of AI. He also spoke about this top­ic in detail again on April 27th, 2024, at the Inter­na­tionales Trick­film Fest­iv­al in Stut­tgart (ITFS).

Fur­ther­more, Unit 2 gave an out­look on the inter­im status of the RHET AI antho­logy Arti­fi­cial Turn — Inter­dis­cip­lin­ary Per­spect­ives on Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence (ed. by Anne Burkhardt, Susanne Marschall and Olaf Kramer), which is to be pub­lished as an open access pub­lic­a­tion under the wbg Aca­dem­ic label by Her­der. The first con­tri­bu­tions have already been pub­lished as pre-prints.

Unit 3 (Com­mu­nic­at­ive Com­pet­ence) gave a review of the numer­ous work­shops that have been held over the past few months and which pro­mote the unit's goal of teach­ing com­mu­nic­at­ive com­pet­ence in AI. Markus Gott­schling also repor­ted on his and Olaf Kramer's par­ti­cip­a­tion in the AlphaPer­suade in Feb­ru­ary and on the net­work­ing event for AI in uni­ver­sity teach­ing, which was organ­ized by the Min­istry of Sci­ence of the State of Baden-Württem­berg in March.

The team members of the RHET AI Center are sitting around U-shaped desks. They are looking at a presentation, that is heldt by two of the team members in the background
Unit 4 gives an over­view of the planned events in 2024

Unit 4 (Events Unit) presen­ted cur­rent res­ults of the RHET AI read­ing series and the I'm a Sci­ent­ist pro­ject, which takes place in cooper­a­tion with Wis­senschaft im Dia­log. The aim of Unit 4 is to organ­ize events that impart know­ledge about AI. In the course of this, the term or concept of AI was prob­lem­at­ized, which the unit would like to explore fur­ther. In addi­tion to “sci­entif­ic” know­ledge about AI, there are also forms of “non-sci­entif­ic” know­ledge. The group dis­cussed what this form of know­ledge is, what it entails and to what extent the two forms are linked and should be included in the activ­it­ies of Unit 4.

With the Juni­or Sci­ence Cafés and a nation­wide cit­izens' assembly pro­ject, Unit 4 presen­ted its new pub­lic engage­ment pro­jects. Anika Kais­er spoke about her doc­tor­al pro­ject, which sci­en­tific­ally accom­pan­ies the Cit­izens' Assembly and deals with epi­stem­ic injustice and the inclu­sion of dif­fer­ent types of know­ledge in delib­er­at­ive pub­lic engage­ment formats.

The unit present­a­tions were fol­lowed by a lunch break and the second part of the event. The entire group went on a walk to the geo­graph­ic­al cen­ter of Baden-Württem­berg. In addi­tion to a group photo, the time was mainly used to get to know each oth­er even bet­ter as a team and to exchange ideas in a relaxed atmo­sphere. For example, the burn­ing ques­tion of what each team member's favor­ite potato dish is, was answered.

The members of the RHET AI Center are standing around the geographcal center of Baden-Württemberg. In the background you can see trees.
The team of the RHET AI Cen­ter at the geo­graph­ic­al cen­ter of Baden-Württemberg

After this refresh­ing walk, the group sat down again and decided which top­ics should be dis­cussed togeth­er in the after­noon. From this, two groups were formed, which took around 45 minutes to dis­cuss the selec­ted topics.

Group one focused on the extern­al impact of the RHET AI Cen­ter. On the one hand, pub­lic­a­tion options and extern­ally effect­ive products were dis­cussed, such as a hand­book or a spe­cial edi­tion for a them­at­ic­ally appro­pri­ate magazine. On the oth­er hand, the optim­iz­a­tion of our homepage and social media chan­nels as well as the work of the stu­dent edit­or­i­al team were discussed.

Group two dealt with the con­fer­ence, which will take place in Heil­bronn in 2025 togeth­er with Exper­i­menta and draf­ted ini­tial ideas for the con­tent and pos­sible topics.

Fol­low­ing the group dis­cus­sions, the res­ults were com­piled and explored togeth­er once again.

Over­all, we can look back on an excit­ing and pro­duct­ive day that not only strengthened us as a team, but also inspired and advanced our fur­ther work. We would like to thank every­one who took part.