A Clear Future – Supporting Decision-Making with Artificial Intelligence

CITEC researchers participating in AI XPRIZE competition with artificial intelligence technology

Should I buy a house or rent an apartment? Change my job, or play it safe? brightFutures will be able to help with these types of questions and decisions. Professor Dr. Philipp Cimiano and his research group Semantic Databanks, of the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC), are participating in a project that aims to develop a system to provide assistance with decision-making for everyday questions. To do this, the system will rely on techniques from artificial intelligence. At the beginning of March, CITEC and its partner applied for the IBM Watson A.I. XPRIZE, which awards a total of $5 million in prize money.

Professor Dr. Philipp Cimiano heads the CITEC research group Semantic Databanks. Photo: CITEC/Bielefeld University “In many areas, decisions are often made based on likes or personal preferences – less so based on purely analytical and logical reasoning or criteria,” says Professor Dr. Philipp Cimiano, who heads the Semantic Databanks research group. “Artificial intelligence can help make decisions more objective because it is impartial.” The consequences of certain decisions are sometimes only apparent years later. The method that the brightFutures team plans to develop will analyze manifold sources of data, enabling potential future scenarios to be developed that can serve as a basis for decisions to be made.

The foundation of brightFutures is so-called scenario technology, which has already been in use for some time. This technology, however, is very expensive, and is thus mainly used by big companies or political entities. The brightFutures team would like to make artificial intelligence that supports decision-making accessible to the general public.

It is important to the researchers that the human user remains in control is not domineered over by the system. The system therefore only shows possibilities and comes up with scenarios, which preserves the user’s freedom to make a decision. With these different scenarios, the user can consider many more factors, and ultimately arrive at a better, more viable decision.

“Especially people who have to consider the far-reaching consequences for their entire future lives and really could use a fortune teller’s crystal ball – these are the people who can be supported with brightFutures,” explains Cimiano. “If I need a mortgage to buy a house, for instance, it would be practical to get a forecast of how the financial market could be 20 years from now, and how my own financial situation will be. In this way, I can avoid unnecessary risks.”

CITEC is working together on the brightFutures project with a consortium of various partners, including Bielefeld University, brightOne, the UKP Lab of the Technical University Darmstadt, the Steinbeis Transfer Center Digital Text Analytics, the Scenario Management International AG.

The partners submitted their project idea at the beginning of March, and are now waiting on the decision as to whether they will progress to the next round. With its artificial intelligence prize A.I. XPRIZE, IBM Watson seeks to fund innovative ideas, and by doing so, encourage advances in human-machine interaction. The competition runs over a period of four years. Over several competitions, a jury of experts selects three finalists from a total of 156 proposals who can win the grand prize.



Professor Dr. Philipp Cimiano, Bielefeld University
Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology
Telephone: +49 521 106-12249
Email: cimiano@techfak.uni-bielefeld.de


More information is available online:

Profile of the Semantic Databanks research group: http://www.sc.cit-ec.uni-bielefeld.de/home/
A.I. XPRIZE website: http://ai.xprize.org/
Press Release by BrightOne: http://www.brightone.de/ueber-uns/presse/news/article/mein-haus-meine-kinder-meine-rente-kuenstliche-intelligenz-hilft-in-schwierigen-lebensfragen/