Last October Stanford University announced plans to create an institute built for artificial intelligence research and development. Today, the school made good on its pledge, launching the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (Stanford HAI) with a mission “to advance AI research, education, policy, and practice to improve the human condition.”
“At Stanford HAI, our vision for the future is led by our commitment to studying, guiding and developing human-centered AI technologies and applications. We believe AI should be collaborative, augmentative, and enhancing to human productivity and quality of life,” reads the new Stanford HAI homepage.
John Etchemendy and Fei-Fei Li will serve as HAI Co-Directors. Etchemendy is a Stanford Department of Philosophy faculty member and a former Stanford Provost, while Li is a Professor of Computer Science at Stanford and the former Chief of Google Cloud AI. The pair will lead an 80-person faculty team.
Prof. Li coined the concept of “human-centered AI” in her March 2018 New York Times op-ed piece How to Make A.I. That’s Good for People. “There is nothing ‘artificial’ about this technology — it is made by humans, intended to behave like humans and affects humans. So if we want it to play a positive role in tomorrow’s world, it must be guided by human concerns.”
Stanford University is the ideal environment to cultivate human-centered AI research. The California institution been at the forefront of AI research since the 1960s, and has also distinguished itself in domains as diverse as law, social sciences and humanities, medicine, education, and business.
Stanford HAI has laid out three research focuses: studying and forecasting the human and societal impact of AI, designing AI applications that augment human capabilities, and developing AI technologies inspired by the versatility and depth of human intelligence.
A total of 15 courses have been announced for the multidisciplinary institute, ranging from Theoretical Neuroscience to Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare to Regulating Artificial Intelligence. It is noteworthy that along with courses designed to develop students’ preliminary research skills, Stanford HAI is also encouraging thought experiments that take a broader view of a world where AI and machines co-exist. The course Designing AI to Cultivate Human Well-Being for example will have students “work on a final project that delves into an industry and proposes a detailed 5-year road map on how that industry might evolve with AI algorithms that focused on human well-being.”
Stanford HAI is now offering fixed-term assistant professor faculty positions and welcoming students to apply for fellowships in AI engineering, international security and cooperation policy, journalism, and ethics in society.
Fei-Fei Li will give a keynote at next week’s inaugural Stanford Human AI Symposium. Leading AI and tech luminaries including Gavin Newsom, Bill Gates and Demis Hassabis will also speak at the event.
Journalist: Tony Peng | Editor: Michael Sarazen