Image of head made of computer programming graphics
Image of head made of computer programming graphics

Oxford spinout opens R&D lab to apply AI to global issues

A new R&D lab has been launched in Oxford by AI company Mind Foundry in partnership with insurance brand Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance and Aioi Nissay Dowa Europe.

Spun out of the University of Oxford in 2016 by Professors Stephen Roberts and Michael Osborne, Mind Foundry has developed technology and products that help people and organisations to implement AI more responsibly.

The Lab brings together insurance insights from the Aioi Nissay Dowa Group of companies and applied machine learning expertise from Mind Foundry, continuing a successful collaboration that has already delivered improvements in safe driving and automation.

As a hub for innovation, the Lab brings together experts from many disciplines, to develop real-world solutions to some of the most significant challenges changing societies around the world, from the climate crisis and ageing populations to the impact of increased automation.

It will be supported by an advisory board of University of Oxford professors with expertise across many disciplines, including Mind Foundry co-founders Stephen Roberts and Michael Osborne, Professor Baroness Kathy Willis from the Department of Biology, Professor Doyne Farmer from the Mathematical Institute, Professor Michael Wooldridge from the Department of Computer Science, Professor Malcolm McCulloch from the Department of Engineering Science and Professor Paul Newman of the Oxford Robotics Institute.

We want to understand the societal impact – not just of insurance, but of risk, environment, and sustainability – and form a foundation for how algorithms of all levels of sophistication can work in harmony with society.

Professor Stephen Roberts

The research conducted at the Lab will focus on five key areas:

  • Mobility for all
  • Autonomous driving
  • Future of insurance
  • Climate
  • Health and wellness

By bringing together different philosophies and science under one roof, the lab aims to build a better understanding of the data that surrounds us all and identify ways in which truly informative “big knowledge” can be extracted from that information, not just “big data”.

Professor Stephen Roberts, co-founder of Mind Foundry and Professor of Machine Learning at the University of Oxford, said: 'Big data is useful up to a point, but what we need now are very smart algorithms that can distil that data into knowledge that is interpretable, valuable, understandable, and beneficial to everybody.'

Professor Michael Osborne, co-founder of Mind Foundry and Professor of Machine Learning at the University of Oxford, said: 'AI is one of a small number of transformational technologies that will truly change the face of our society and planet - I don’t think there is any way we can tackle the core challenges of the century without it. But most AI is not yet up to the task, because it is not trustworthy, reliable, or responsible. Our hope is that with the Aioi R&D Lab – Oxford we will develop new technologies within AI that are capable of being all of those things. Only then will we be able to ensure that AI solves the most important problems of today while also providing a blueprint for innovative solutions of tomorrow.'