Diversity and diverse ideas enrich good research, and in some cases make it possible in the first place. Nevertheless, women in particular are underrepresented in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. With its founding on February 19, 2021, the non-profit association Women in AI & Robotics Germany has dedicated itself to the goal of motivating, promoting, and training women who are enthusiastic about IT and technology in order to significantly increase their share in research and industry. The DFKI fully supports this aim. As a leading research institute for innovative software technologies with the focus on “human-centric AI”, it has been involved for many years in projects, events and collaborations that aim to inspire girls and young women for the field. In future, DFKI and Women in AI & Robotics Germany join forces for more gender equality in the AI community.
Antonio Krüger, CEO DFKI: “With employees from over 60 countries, DFKI stands for internationality and diversity, which for us are the cornerstones of excellent science. In our research as well as in our daily work, the focus is on people, regardless of their origin, faith, gender, or sexual orientation. Nevertheless, we – like many other institutes in our field – still have some catching up to do when it comes to acquiring women experts. I am all the more pleased about this partnership, which represents a small yet important step towards a more balanced gender ratio in the AI community.”
Sheila Beladinejad, President Women in AI & Robotics Germany e.V.: “On behalf of Women in AI & Robotics, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to join forces with one of the leading research institutions of Germany, the well-respected DFKI. Both organizations are passionate and committed to closing the gender gap in AI & Robotics and increasing female representation and participation. I am sure we can take impactful actions together in addressing this divide, to build more just, ethical, and responsible solutions for world problems that can be beneficial to all.”
To kick off the joint activities, Women in AI & Robotics and DFKI invite to the virtual event "Artificial Intelligence in Rehabilitation Robotics – DFKI Supports Careers of Women Experts in Research & Innovation" on July 21st, 2021, from 5 to 6 p.m. The event will focus on the work of Dr. Elsa Kirchner, who has been working at the Robotics Innovation Center since 2008 and leads the "Interactive Machine Learning" team there. Elsa Kirchner graduated in biology and successfully finished her PhD in computer science. In her research she combines artificial intelligence with neuroscience in order to enable machine learning through the interaction with humans, respectively to make it as intuitive as possible. During the event, the scientist and her team will show how intelligent robotic systems can be used in the rehabilitation of stroke patients and demonstrate this using an upper body exoskeleton.
Beforehand, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Frank Kirchner – director of the Robotics Innovation Center and site manager of the DFKI Bremen – will introduce the research department, whose range of applications goes far beyond rehabilitation robotics. In a video tour, he will lead the participants through the institute's laboratories and test facilities, which include the Maritime Exploration Hall, unique in Europe, as well as the Space Exploration Hall with its artificial crater landscape. At the end of the event, the experts will be available to answer questions.