In conversation with our young researchers: Dr Alexander Steen

14 May 2021

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The ubiquity of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the fact that no scientist can be an expert in every field means AI is an interdisciplinary field at heart. Computational logician and AI researcher Postdoc Dr Alexander Steen, has chosen Luxembourg to run his research projects.

The expertise in the research group Dr Steen is associated with reflects interdisciplinarity. Indeed, it brings together Lawyers, Logicians, Mathematicians, Computer Scientists, Philosophers and Engineers – supplemented by expertise in the other faculties.

Making Universality happen

Technological progress in AI affects us all. Indeed, researchers from numerous scientific fields are working on the best way to bring AI forward. It includes the study of systems able to autonomously reason over arguments – calculators for philosophical, ethical or legal debates.

Dr Steen studies the theoretical and practical aspects on how to automate and implement logical reasoning. His focus is on interdisciplinary contexts: normative and legal decision-making and philosophical arguments.

According to Dr Alexander Steen, who defines his work by its universality: “Logic is everywhere around us, in different forms and shapes. Automated reasoning has been around since the very beginning of AI research[…] Modern logic has become more diverse and inclusive: We now try to capture intuitive notions of philosophical, moral, legal and common-sense reasoning – which is in a sense much harder than purely mathematical logic – and to let a machine autonomously reason about these aspects.” 

The underlying idea, Alexander explains, is to provide quite general means for AI-assisted reasoning. It is also about simulating domain specific requirements within that framework. This way, e.g. ethical and legal discourses can be made explicit and addressed by autonomous systems. As such, it contributes to explainable and transparent AI systems that we urgently need.

Why Luxembourg as a research destination?

To Sofie Waltl, “working in such a multi-disciplinary research setting is very fruitful.”

“Luxembourg lies in the heart of Europe, with a unique mixture of people within and outside of the University. I’ve never seen a research group like the one I am associated with now: Lawyers, Logicians, Mathematicians, Computer Scientists, Philosophers and Engineers – with even more expertise in the other faculties. ”

Alexander Steen, Postdoc Researcher, University of Luxembourg, and Principal Investigator of the CORE Junior project ‘Automated Reasoning with Legal Entities (AuReLeE)

Read more about the Individual and Collective Reasoning Group of University of Luxembourg.

Extracts from Spotlight on Young Researchers: AI for ethical and legal debates

Meet our young researchers