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ICME's AI for Good Class Wraps-Up

Professor Russ Altman interviews Provost Emeritus John Etchemendy on March 5th, 2020

Mar 31 2020

With poignant perspectives regarding the impact of artificial intelligence on jobs, the elderly, and all of humanity, ICME’s AI for Good seminar series wrapped on March 5th with Professor Russ Altman interviewing Provost Emeritus John Etchemendy on the Future of AI.

The winter-quarter AI for Good class was created as a follow-up to the AI in Real Life class that ran in the fall of 2018.  AI for Good set out to inspire and educate students about artificial intelligence applications with societal and environmental impact. The class also aimed to raise awareness and build critical thinking around potential unintended consequences.  Speakers from academia, the nonprofit sector, and from companies such as Microsoft and Google discussed the uses and challenges of applying AI to healthcare, the environment, human rights, government, and other sectors.

From the opening panel, Is AI a Force for Good?, speakers brought a range of perspectives on the potential of AI, they offered caution about the responsibilities surrounding AI, and they challenged students to develop an awareness around the ethics of how, when and where to apply AI.  On the unintended consequences of AI,  ICME PhD student Laura Lyman reflected that, “It is important to consider how we can monitor moral and social issues in AI in a way that is consistent, sensitive to individual privacy, and feasible in implementation.”

Feedback from students was enthusiastic and many reflected on their newly broadened perspectives in terms of the socially beneficial uses for AI, "Most of my perception of AI was in its use for targeting ads, facial recognition or other private uses that don't immediately lead to socially beneficial outcomes. It's amazing that there are some leading figures at the world's best companies and universities that are working to make meaningful use of AI," noted ICME PhD student, Ryan Humble. In addition to introducing the vast societal uses of AI, the series left a lasting impression that will resonate with many students in their future interests. ICME PhD student, Izzy Aguiar commented, "I had such a nourishing and productive experience in taking the AI for Good seminar series. I know that my passions and work going forward will have been massively impacted by the experiences and the ideas that this seminar series provided me."

The entire series was amplified by several news articles and continues to be experienced through the availability of video recordings which can be found on an AI for Good Playlist on YouTube.

Intelligent recaps and key insights from each session were captured by Izzy Aguiar whose articles can be found in the ICME News page or via links below:

January 6th: Our Role in Ensuring AI is a Force for Good
January 13th: How Nonprofits are Leveraging AI
January 27th: AI for Earth | The World's Biggest Challenge
February 3rd: From Adjudication to Enforcement, AI in Government Agencies
February 11th: Can AI Make us Healthier?
February 24th: AI for Human Rights

Although the Covid-19 closure caused the cancellation of the March 9th session dubbed A Multi-disciplinary Approach to AI, ICME looks forward to bringing Stanford alumna and Google Research Scientist Timnit Gebru and Professor Omer Reingold back in the future to address many of the important challenges of AI regarding bias, fairness, privacy, security, etc. that were raised throughout the series.

To stay informed about AI seminars and courses from ICME, join the mailing list on the main AI for Good home page.