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Bayreuth Lectures

The University of Bayreuth is offering a new series of events: the Bayreuth Lectures. It is aimed at both students and the entire university public. The Bayreuth Lectures focus on current scientific topics in the fields of sustainability, philosophy of science, digital world, gender & diversity, and entrepreneurship & innovation. The speakers come to the University of Bayreuth at the invitation of Bayreuth researchers. It is planned to include the event series in the new Studium Generale concept.

Upcoming dates

Monday, 22.04.2024: 6-8 p.m. | Location: University of Bayreuth, Lecture hall 15, NW I (Campus map), English lecture, subsequent discussion in German and English language

"Explainable AI with Large Language Models: opportunities, challenges and risks"
Alberto Termine
is a fixed-term research fellow (collaboratore scientifico) in machine learning at Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Lugano, Switzerland. 

Artificial intelligence systems based on machine learning algorithms (ML models) are often presented as black boxes, which means that it is difficult for users to understand how and why they produce their outcomes. In literature, this is usually referred to as the black box problem. Resolving this problem constitutes the fundamental objective of the recently-born research programme of Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI). One major challenge in XAI involves formulating explanations of ML models' reasoning and outcomes that are understandable to users with limited expertise in AI and related fields. This challenge requires the development of XAI tools that can scrutinise the complex low-level and sub-symbolic inferences executed by an ML model and translate them into natural language explanations that non-expert users can easily read and grasp. Next-generation large language models (LLMs), in particular chatbots based on generative pre-trained transformers, e.g., OpenAI ChatGPT, seem to be particularly suitable for this task.

These models can be easily trained to recognize inferences made by black-box AI systems and explain them via natural language texts that are easily comprehensible to users. The quality of these explanations might also be improved through reinforcement learning mechanisms that leverage users’ feedback. However, the use of LLMs as XAI tools introduces unexpected risks and presents us with new challenges. Unlike conventional XAI techniques, LLMs themselves are equally, if not more, opaque than the ML models they should explain. This raises an additional “meta” black-box problem: how can one places trust in an explanation provided by an LLM-based XAI tool if one does not understand how this explanation has been generated?

In his lecture, Alberto Termine will explore more in-depth the challenges and risks raised by the use of LLMs for XAI purposes. He will particularly focus on the phenomenon of hallucination, i.e., the tendency of LLMs to produce explanations that seem reliable but, in reality, include a plethora of false and potentially misleading information. He will contend that hallucination severely undermines the reliability of LLMs as XAI tools, and that addressing this issue constitutes the primary challenge in the development of safe, fair, and trustworthy LLM-based XAI systems.

Organizers: Prof. Dr. Lena Kästner and Prof. Dr. Mirco Schönfeld

Thursday, 06.06.2024: 7 - 8.30 p.m. | Location: University of Bayreuth, Lecture hall H 36, NWIII (Campus map)

Prof. Dr. Sören Schöbel-Rutschmann: "Wind energy – actively shaping citizen participation and landscape" and Prof. Dr. Petra Hutner: "Renewable energies in rural areas – scope for action for local authorities"

The energy transition is a decisive lever on the road to climate neutrality. However, there are still challenges when it comes to implementation. As an architect, Sören Schöbel-Rutschmann specialises in regional open space structures and in particular the changes to the landscape caused by wind turbines. Public participation plays a decisive role when wind power projects are to be realised. In the second part of the event, Petra Hutner will look at renewable energies in rural areas. The opportunities and challenges for local authorities to ensure a sustainable energy supply will be focussed on.

This will be followed by a discussion and the opportunity to network. The presentations will also mark the start of this year's Spring Forum, which is being organised by forum1.5 at the University of Bayreuth.

Organizer: Prof. Dr. Manfred Miosga 

Monday, 17.06.2024: 6 - 8 p.m. | Location: University of Bayreuth, Lecture hall 15, NW I (Campus map)

"Intersectionality as a critical category of analysis and intervention" 
Peggy Piesche is an Afro-German literary scholar and co-founder of ADEFRA. She works as head of department at the Federal Agency for Civic Education.

In her lecture, Peggy Piesche talks about intersectionality as a prism and method that focuses on the complex interaction of racism, sexism and classism. Intersectionality is a category of analysis, but also an intervention that not only looks at social processes, but also seeks to shape them. In her lecture, Peggy Piesche will discuss what this can offer for academic questions and professional practices.

Organizers:  Prof Dr. Susan Arndt and Prof. Dr. Kristin Skottki

Previous events