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Utrecht University joins the AI-translator race

Last updated 2 weeks ago by Michael Darmanin

There is nothing more frustrating than a vending machine eating your coins but refusing to deliver the snack or drink. In all seriousness, artificial intelligence (AI) systems are taking more and more decisions for us. Examples include finding cancerous tumors on CT scans, predicting car malfunctions, and improving the efficiency of oil wells. Although helpful most of the times, these systems will anger most of us when they fail to work, leaving us wondering what went wrong.

EU-acknowledged problem

The European Union acknowledged that AI systems need to be more transparent. As European citizens, existing legislation already protects our right to having decisions explained to us. A problem emerges in the case of AI. These tools use large databases and run complicated formulas in order to arrive at a decision. These formulas are out of reach for most of us, who lack a background in the field of computer science.


NL4XAI stands for “Interactive Natural Language Technology for Explainable Artificial Intelligence.” It is a European initiative aimed at training young scientists. Their goal is to innovate and learn how build new AI systems which can automatically explain their decisions to regular, non-expert users.

Utrecht University joined the race

PhD candidate Alexandra Mayn, supervised by Prof Kees van Deemter is the Utrecht researcher who joined the NL4XAI program. AI uses complex logical formulas in order to analyze data and make a decision. Alexandra Mayn will focus on building systems which can translate those formulas into simple text. Through this text, in English, Dutch, or Chinese, users will gain insight into the “magic” behind the decisions made by the – for now – elusive AI systems.

Source: Utrecht University

Silviu Alexandru Costea
Silviu Alexandru Costea
Silviu A. Costea is a psychology student with a deep appreciation for beauty, may it be in art, science, nature, or anywhere else. With his passion for writing and experience as an international student, he is dedicated to providing quality content on various topics. He is a keen listener and he is convinced that everyone has a story worth sharing.


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