Press Release 083/2021

Karlsruhe Devoted to AI and Digitization

KIT Science Week Meets InnovationFestival
2021_083_Karlsruhe im Zeichen von KI und Digitalisierung_72dpi
Through observation alone, the ARMAR-6 assistance robot can acquire new abilities, support users, and hand over objects. (Photo: Henning Strauch, KIT)

Robots executing assembly tasks, assistance systems supporting the diagnosis of diseases, self-driving cars: Learning systems are increasingly becoming part of our everyday life. For this reason, the first KIT Science Week headed “The Human Being in the Center of Learning Systems” will focus on artificial intelligence. From October 5 to 10, 2021, this new type of event of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) will provide exceptional insights into the different facets of research. In parallel, the innovation festival of the initiative will take place. There, companies and institutions from industry, science, culture, and administration will present groundbreaking digital innovations within ten minutes each.

Keynotes, TEDx talks, panel discussion, citizen dialog, or guided tours – during the KIT Science Week, lovers of science and culture are invited to immerse into the world of learning systems at a variety of events. Science, politics, industry, and urban society will discuss the opportunities and risks of artificial intelligence (AI) and how AI may be used for the benefit of society. The KIT Science Week will combine a scientific congress with events for the public and, thus, address both scientific experts and interested citizens.

“The KIT Science Week is the first event that combines a scientific conference of renowned researchers from all over the world with participative and interactive events for citizens,” says Professor Thomas Hirth, KIT Vice-President for Innovation and International Affairs. The KIT and its cooperation partners deliberately adopt this new approach to knowledge and technology transfer and dialog between science and society, he emphasizes. “I am also very happy that the InnovationFestival will accompany our KIT Science Week. This reflects our good cooperation with local companies and institutions in Karlsruhe,” Hirth adds.

“Karlsruhe is top in terms of digitization and networking. This is reflected by the city’s first place in the digital administration category of the Germany-wide Bitkom Smart City Index 2020 and the prize we won as the city with Europe’s smartest cultural tourism,” says First Mayor of Karlsruhe Gabriele Luczak-Schwarz, who chairs the initiative. Projects, such as the Smart East Urban Quarter, the autonomous EVA shuttles, or the AI-controlled restaurant platform Garoma, will be presented at the InnovationFestival and will illustrate how these technologies are used in Karlsruhe and the region to enhance the life and quality of life of the urban society. “The topics of digitization, artificial intelligence, and innovation fit perfectly to the KIT Science Week and this is why, from the very beginning, I was enthusiastic about the idea of combining both events,” Luczak-Schwarz says.

Top Innovations from Karlsruhe

Following its successful premiere in autumn 2020 with more than 2000 spectators from 16 countries, the InnovationFestival will again present the best digital innovations from Karlsruhe and the Karlsruhe Technology Region. This event will visualize and make people experience the diversity of digitization-relating topics. It will start parallel to the KIT Science Week on October 8, 2021 at 1 p.m. Apart from the keynote by the Volocopter air taxi pioneer, companies and institutions from science, industry, and administration will present their digital transformation projects in speeches of ten minutes each. The cost-free, hybrid format will allow for (restricted) participation at the media theater of ZKM – Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, but also a livestream will be provided.

“The InnovationFestival is aimed at making digitization in Karlsruhe an experience for everybody. We are happy about many presentations on artificial intelligence, IT security, or mobility that reflect the wide expertise of our IT region,” says Martin Hubschneider, initiator of the InnovationFestival and one of the chairpersons of the initiative. In view of the about 4400 IT companies in the region, Hubschneider considers Karlsruhe to be a driver of digitization for a viable society and a highly attractive location for specialists and startups in the digital sector. The InnovationFestival is supposed to demonstrate this far beyond the region of Karlsruhe.

The Human Being in the Center of Learning Systems

Apart from the events for the interested public, researchers will discuss the development of dependable, tangible, and adaptable human-inspired AI technologies at a scientific conference. “Artificial intelligence is a pioneering technology with a variety of uses for science and society. In spite of enormous progress, big challenges remain to be managed to enhance the flexibility, adaptability, robustness, and explainability of human-centered AI technologies,” says Professor Tamim Asfour from KIT’s Institute for Anthropomatics and Robotics. “This is why new approaches are required that extend beyond the current state of research.”

The congress and the KIT Science Week 2021 are aimed at making humans the center of learning systems again through a discourse on the development of dependable, tangible, and adaptable human-inspired AI technologies.

More information on the KIT Science Week:

For the program, click:

More information on the InnovationFestival


The initiative brings together actors from science, industry, culture, and administration to advance Karlsruhe as a driver of digitization. Altogether, about 150 experts from more than 50 institutions cooperate under the initiative. Digital aspects and success criteria of administration, science, education, culture and society, locations factors for specialists, sovereignty, startup culture, internationalization, and innovation transfer are analyzed and optimized by working groups. bundles expert knowledge and pushes networking. In this way, impulses from all areas can be taken up and processed holistically to actively design the digital future of the city.

Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

swi, 15.09.2021


Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41150
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Sandra Wiebe
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