Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI
Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI

Intelligent Autonomous Systems: Assurance and Ethical Issues (Sommersemester 2017)

Dozent: Prof. Dr. Holger Giese (Systemanalyse und Modellierung)

Allgemeine Information

  • Semesterwochenstunden: 4
  • ECTS: 6
  • Benotet: Ja
  • Einschreibefrist: 28.04.2017
  • Lehrform: Projektseminar
  • Belegungsart: Wahlpflichtmodul

Studiengänge, Modulgruppen & Module

IT-Systems Engineering MA
  • IT-Systems Engineering
    • HPI-ITSE-A Analyse
  • IT-Systems Engineering
    • HPI-ITSE-E Entwurf
  • IT-Systems Engineering
    • HPI-ITSE-K Konstruktion
  • IT-Systems Engineering
    • HPI-ITSE-M Maintenance
  • SAMT: Software Architecture & Modeling Technology
    • HPI-SAMT-K Konzepte und Methoden
  • SAMT: Software Architecture & Modeling Technology
    • HPI-SAMT-S Spezialisierung
  • SAMT: Software Architecture & Modeling Technology
    • HPI-SAMT-T Techniken und Werkzeuge


Intelligent autonomous systems are increasingly making decisions and taking over the control of tasks that have traditionally been performed only by humans. Take for instance the games of Chess and Go in which intelligent software outperformed master human players. These technological feats were only possible after the recent advances in micro-processors, sensors, and machine learning algorithms.

Although these advances (games) are mostly restricted to leisure activities, many other applications of intelligent autonomous technology hold the potential to change more pervasively how we go by our daily lives. Take for example the autonomous driving technology and the algorithms that autonomously decide which information is relevant to whom. These novel applications present decision making capabilities that completely transform how we commute or make sense of information.

While exciting, these applications also pose unprecedented ethical and social-economic challenges, particularly when autonomous systems must make decisions based on difficult trade-offs (e.g., two unavoidable safety risks).  Therefore, society and experts have been stepping up to define the rules and principles for developing and operating such systems.

The IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology -- including computer science --, for example, has started a global initiative for ethical considerations in artificial intelligence and autonomous systems (http://standards.ieee.org/develop/indconn/ec/autonomous_systems.html) to develop related guidelines.

In this project seminar, we will first jointly establish a fundamental understanding of how to systematically guarantee (assure) system properties and which are the corresponding and relevant ethical considerations. Next, we will define topics of interest, plan how to approach the topic, and work on these tasks in small groups. Finally, the results of the working groups will be presented and documented.


The slides of the introductory meeting and the initial short lecture on the topic will be found under FG Systemanalyse und Modellierung -> Intelligent Autonomous Systems - Assurance and Ethical Issues on the respective drive/the internal materials folder.

Lern- und Lehrformen

The course is a project seminar, which has an introductory phase comprised by an initial short lecture. After that, the students will work in groups on jointly identified topics and finally prepare a presentation and write a report about their findings concerning the topic.

There will be an introductory phase to present basic concepts for the theme including the necessary foundations for assurance and ethics.


We will grade the group's reports (50%) and presentations (50%). Participation in the project seminar during meetings and other groups' presentations in the form of questions and feedback will also be required.


The first meeting will be on Tuesday, 25th of April

After the introductory phase with an initial short lecture, we will identify the group topics and then there will be regular individual feedback meetings of the groups with their supervisors. In addition, there will also be regular meetings during the semester for the whole project seminar to discuss the progress of all groups and open questions in general.