Jönköping University strengthens the business community with AI


Jönköping University is now implementing the large and multidisciplinary investment AFAIR. With a focus on applied AI, they will, together with several companies, strengthen the business community.

JU’s research and educational environment SPARK promotes companies’ development of knowledge-intensive products, services and processes through cutting-edge research. The new research initiative AFAIR (Ambidexterity, Flows and AI for Competitive Responsiveness) is now being developed there.

– A consistent theme in the initiative is to develop the ability of the participating companies to apply data-driven and algorithm-based approaches for the development of processes, products and services, says Joakim Wikner, professor of logistics at Jönköping University at JU and project manager for AFAIR.

AI should make companies competitive

Responsiveness refers to companies’ ability to be compliant with market demands and changes in a competitive way, as well as method and technology development.

– Some companies do not have the opportunity to compete with price and then being able to offer customer-unique solutions with service elements can create a clear added value, says Joakim Wikner.

The project’s research challenges have been identified together with key companies such as Husqvarna, Saab Training & Simulation, Fagerhult’s lighting, Combitech and Siemens Energy and more companies will join. For Swedish research, it is a unique project that provides a scientific edge and a national recognition.

– The biggest advantage is the multidisciplinary approach. The investment is long-term and is expected in the long run to be an established and strong research and educational environment at JU, says Joakim Wikner.

The researchers at AFAIR will, among other things, investigate how AI can streamline flows and work with customer offerings. They will look at how organizations handle technology development and AI transformation by introducing and utilizing AI-based tools. Within the project, therefore, data-driven algorithms and methods based on machine learning will be adapted and developed. Since these solutions are intended to constitute decision support or make automatic decisions, an important component becomes their ability to reason about and motivate their recommendations or decisions.

XAI is a priority

– A priority research area in the project is therefore so-called explainable AI, also called XAI, says Ulf Johansson, professor of computer science at Jönköping University.

AI is a disruptive force that will change the relationship between humans and machines in organizations.

– We still know very little about how or with what consequences. Will AI make it easier for us or make us more pressured? Here are some paradoxes that we need to investigate further, says Annika Engström, senior lecturer in work organization at Jönköping University.

The Knowledge Foundation finances

AFAIR has been granted extensive funding by the Knowledge Foundation and together with JU’s co-financing, this constitutes a solid platform for the investment. Read more about the funding on the university’s website. The first projects within AFAIR have already started and more are underway.

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