AI Research takes a long view on perils and prospects

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Professor Shannon Vallor has joined the AI100 Standing Committee where top scientists look to study how AI will shape our lives, now and in the future.

Professor Shannon Vallor, Director of the Centre for Technomoral Futures in the Edinburgh Futures Institute and Baillie Gifford Professor in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence, has joined the AI100 Standing Committee.

Top scientists examine how AI will shape our lives, now and in the future

The One Hundred Year Study of Artificial Intelligence (AI100) is a longitudinal study to study and anticipate how the effects of artificial intelligence will ripple through every aspect of how people work, live and play.

It is hosted by the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) and managed by a standing committee of AI experts from institutions around the world, chaired by Peter Stone at the University of Texas at Austin.

Reporting on state and progress of AI

The 2021 AI100 Report was written by a panel of 17 study authors, each of whom is deeply rooted in AI research, chaired by Michael Littman of Brown University.

The report is the second issued by the AI100. The first was published in 2016 after the formation of the first study panel in 2014. The AI100 reports every five years – reviewing AI’s progress in the years following the immediately prior report, and envisioning the potential advances that lie ahead.

The report describes the technical and societal challenges and opportunities these advances raise, including in such arenas as ethics, economics, and the design of systems compatible with human cognition.

Standing committee of leading AI scientists

The AI100 is the brainchild of computer scientist and Stanford alumnus Eric Horvitz who, among other credits, is a former president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

In that capacity Horvitz convened a conference in 2009 at which top researchers considered advances in artificial intelligence and its influences on people and society, a discussion that illuminated the need for continuing study of AI’s long-term implications.

Along with Russ Altman, a professor of bioengineering and computer science at Stanford, Horvitz formed a committee in 2009 to oversee a series of periodic studies on how AI will affect automation, national security, psychology, ethics, law, privacy, democracy and other issues.

The standing committee includes leading academicians with diverse interests who identify the most compelling topics in AI at any given time, and convene a panel of experts to study and report on these issues.

Professor Vallor brings her research interests in exploring how emerging technologies reshape human moral and intellectual character, and mapping the unique ethical challenges and opportunities posed by new uses of data and artificial intelligence.

Professor Vallor said:

“It’s a great honour to join the AI100 Standing Committee. The AI100 Study reports have consistently reflected the importance of understanding AI not only as an artefact or scientific research programme, but as a technology with profound ethical implications for society and human flourishing. I look forward to working alongside my colleagues on the standing committee to ensure that these implications remain central to our study of artificial intelligence and its place in our futures.”

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