Edinburgh University creates generative AI lab

Academic institution announces facility focused on artificial intelligence, which leaders say will ‘create a new pipeline of talent with the skills to both benefit from and shape this transformational technology’

The University of Edinburgh has launched a multimillion-pound facility focused on generative artificial intelligence.

Generative AI – as exemplified by the likes of ChatGPT – is designed to be able to produce to specifications text, imagery, audio, synthetic data or other content.

Continuing to build on the university’s six-decade-long research in AI and computing, the Generative AI Laboratory will develop safe solutions and systems for industry, government and others who may use the technology. It will do so by embedding generative AI within techniques in areas including health and robotics as well as in the fight against climate change.

The institution already has broad experience in developing systems that underpin the innovative technology, including machine learning and natural language processing.

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Iain Gordon, head of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Edinburgh is uniquely placed to provide world-class leadership and expertise around generative AI. Once operational, this exciting initiative will create a new pipeline of talent with the skills to both benefit from and shape the economic and societal benefits of this transformational technology.”     

Partnering with the university’s Centre for Technomoral Futures, the project will also look into the regulatory frameworks needed to ensure the responsible use of AI.

Host to the UK’s national supercomputer, ARCHER2 – and also soon to be one the few institutions in the world to have a next-generation supercomputer, the Exascale – the university already benefits from high-performing computing infrastructure.

The announcement follows the technology’s growing impact in society over recent months, with research by banking company Goldman Sachs saying it could boost global GDP by 7% over the next decade.

This story originally appeared on PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood

Sofia Villegas

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