In Styria, Austria, a new initiative is emerging to develop efficient and independent test methods and testing technologies for AI systems.

This involves the Know-Center, a leading European research center for data-driven business and AI, the SGS Group, the world's leading provider of testing, verification and certification and the Institute for Applied Information Processing and Communication Technology of the Graz University of Technology, one of the leading cybersecurity research teams. Ethical and legal aspects are introduced via the Business Analytics and Data Science Center at the University of Graz.

SGS, TU Graz, and Know-Center Partnership Event

From left to right: Harald Kainz, Rector of TU Graz, Stefanie Lindstaedt, CEO Know-Center, Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, Provincial Councilor of Economic Affairs & Research, Martin Schaffer, Managing Director SGS Digital Trust Services and Stefan Thalmann, Professor at University of Graz

Trust as a Prerequisite for AI Applications

Artificial intelligence offers enormous potential for new business ideas and economic growth. It is a key technology driver for ensuring the future viability of the economy and society in the face of global challenges, from pandemic developments to climate change. The European Commission is planning to introduce future regulation for AI systems including a comprehensive conformity assessment, which will make AI certification indispensable.

"The potential of AI in Europe will only be exploited if the trustworthiness of data handling as well as fair, reliable and secure algorithms can be demonstrated. With a 360° perspective, we want to ensure that AI applications function in a technically compliant, reliable, and unbiased manner. The focus is on all areas that are essential for the high quality and trustworthiness of AI: data, algorithms, cybersecurity, processes, ethics and law," explains Stefanie Lindstaedt, CEO of the Know-Center.

Independent Testing and Certification of AI Solutions

Currently, AI is one of the fastest growing areas. Most AI systems are data-driven, that is, they learn about desired behaviors from large amounts of data. This state-of-the-art technology enables extraordinary innovation but, if not used properly, can have unintentional, negative effects, for example biases in human resource processes or unsafe recommendations by AI in the critical healthcare sector.

"A cornerstone of trust in AI is compliance with standards and regulations, demonstrated through conformity assessments, carried out by accredited third parties like SGS. In our partnership, we will develop new multi-disciplinary tools and techniques to enable these assessments, to include cybersecurity, safety and ethics as examples," explains Siddi Wouters, Senior Vice President of Digital & Innovation at SGS, "which brings value to customers across the world".

Cybercrime – a Major Challenge

Despite the enormous technological potential, the use of AI applications also involves uncertainties and risks. There are a variety of ways to attack AI systems. A major challenge in the evaluation of AI systems is therefore cybercrime. For example, a driverless vehicle could make fatal decisions if data processed by the AI system used in the vehicle is wrongly programmed by criminals.

"At this point conventional static testing is not sufficient. Research in terms of fundamentally new security engineering concepts is needed to obtain continuous attestation of AI system's resilience against cyberattacks. TU Graz introduces its expertise to the strategic partnership. For us, the initiative represents the logical deepening of an already successfully existing cooperation in the field of computer science, software engineering and cybersecurity with SGS, Know-Center and University of Graz. In addition, it will benefit university research and teaching, which the new and current content will incorporate," explains Harald Kainz, Rector of Graz University of Technology.

About Know-Center

The Know-Center is one of the leading European research centers for Data-driven business and Artificial Intelligence supporting European companies of all sizes and sectors to turn data into value. In 2020, the Know-Center was the only Austrian center to be awarded the iSpace Gold Award of the Big Data Value Association, which has only been awarded nine times in the entire EU.

Know-Center

About TU Graz

Cybersecurity has been a research focus at TU Graz for many years. The University hosts one of the world's leading research institutions in this field: the Institute for Applied Information Processing and Communication Technologies (IAIK). IAIK researchers work on cryptology and privacy technologies, system security and formal methods and develop tools that make mobile devices more secure and ensure the security of electronic signatures and electronic devices.

TU Graz

For more information, please contact

Martin Schaffer
Managing Director
SGS Digital Trust Services GmbH
t: +43 664 8821 0590

About SGS

We are SGS – the world’s leading testing, inspection and certification company. We are recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. Our 93,000 employees operate a network of 2,600 offices and laboratories, working together to enable a better, safer and more interconnected world.