Cutting-edge projects aim to tackle challenges of emerging technologies

A Lancaster University research project, working with the BBC Research and Development team, to examine the impact IoT and AI technologies have on our climate, has received Government funding.

The ‘Edge of Reality’ project will help BBC audiences and the wider public to better consider how the lack of legibility, negotiability, and agency of IoT-AI data at the Edge, is contributing to CO2 emissions as well as creating cybersecurity concerns.

Researchers at Lancaster University’s ImaginationLancaster design laboratory is one of six higher education institutions to receive a share of the £465,000 funding.

The PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity today announced the new research projects, funded through its Internal Strategic Projects and Engagement Fund (ISPEF).

PETRAS’s work considers issues of Privacy, Ethics, Trust, Reliability, Acceptability, Trust and Security as they apply to IoT systems and networks, as well as associated technologies at the edge, such as AI and Machine Learning.

These new and cutting-edge research projects look to tackle social and technical challenges of emerging technologies by transforming academic knowledge into practice.

The projects provide technology solutions for the betterment of society and the UK economy, as well as identify potential issues and risks across sectors, ultimately helping to ensure the UK is a safer and more prosperous place.

Solutions-orientated projects include those with aims ranging from supporting vulnerable groups such as the elderly, to providing privacy preserving methods for healthcare providers, as well as efficiency savings in ‘smart’ shipping ports.

But these same emerging technologies also present society with new and ever-changing risks and challenges.

Lancaster’s ‘Edge of Reality’ project is, therefore, one of two of the new PETRAS ISPEF projects to focus on identifying how technologies such as IoT and AI can create new issues.

IoT-AI generated data between the Edge and the Cloud is contributing to ICT’s global carbon footprint which is now estimated to account for around 3.9% of worldwide CO2 emissions.

“Our continued collaboration with BBC R&D will allow us to further explore how design methods can be applied to raise awareness amongst citizens and communities of the important environmental issues being associated with IoT-AI generated data,” says the project’s Principal Investigator Dr Michael Stead, who will work with Co-Investigators Lancaster’s Dr Adrian Gradinar and Professor Paul Coulton on the project.

“In doing so, the project aims to feed into BBC objectives to develop interactive devices and services that help people to manage their data-driven carbon footprints more sustainably and securely, as well as societal debates on data sustainability more broadly.”

PETRAS is part of the Securing Digital Technologies at the Periphery (SDTaP) programme funded by UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund.

It is a consortium that connects 22 research institutions with outstanding expertise in securing the connected world.

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