Artificial Intelligence, Life in 2030 & Global Policy

Aug 31, 2016

Stanford University has invited leading thinkers from several institutions to begin a 100-year effort to study and anticipate how the effects of artificial intelligence will ripple through every aspect of how people work, live and play.

The report is due out midnight 31st August, 2016 Pacific Daylight Time and will be available here: https://ai100.stanford.edu/ It will include perspectives on global policy approaches.

Reflections on the work started by the 7 in the Standing Committee:

“I’m very optimistic about the future and see great value ahead for humanity with advances in systems that can perceive, learn, and reason,” said Eric Horvitz, a distinguished scientist and managing director at Microsoft Research who initiated AI100 as a private philanthropic initiative.  “However, it is difficult to anticipate all of the opportunities and issues, so we need to create an enduring process.”

Eric Horvitz turned to Stanford to host the study for a variety of reasons, including his own background, which involved studying computer science and medicine at Stanford.

Russ Altman, who studied computer science and medicine with Horvitz at Stanford in the late ’80s, said a university is the best place to nurture such a long-term effort.

“If your goal is to create a process that looks ahead 30 to 50 to 70 years, it’s not altogether clear what artificial intelligence will mean, or how you would study it,” Altman said.”But it’s a pretty good bet that Stanford will be around, and that whatever is important at the time, the university will be involved in it.”

Alan Mackworth said, “This study will provide a forum for us to consider critical issues in the design and use of AI systems, including their economic and social impact.”

Deidre K. Mulligan is particularly interested in the latter. “The 100 year study provides an intellectual and practical home for the long-term interdisciplinary research necessary to document, understand, and shape AI to support human flourishing and democratic ideals.”

Barbara Grosz welcomes the project’s potential for discussions.

“I’m excited about the potential for AI100 to focus attention on ways to design AI to work with and for people,” she said. “We can shift the discussion about the societal impact of AI from the extremes to positions that take into account the nuances of societal values, human cognitive capacities, and actual AI capabilities.”

Tom Mitchell embraces the coming advances.

“We won’t be putting the genie back in the bottle,” he said. “AI technology is progressing along so many directions and progress is being driven by so many different organizations that it is bound to continue. AI100 is an innovative and far-sighted response to this trend–an opportunity for us as a society to determine the path of our future and not to simply let it unfold unawares.”

Yoav Shoham adds that the 100-year study will help to identify challenges as well as concerns.

“The complexities of the field have tended to give rise to uninformed and misguided perceptions and commentaries,” Shoham said. “This long-term study will help create amore accurate and nuanced view of AI.”

AI100 is funded by a gift from Eric and Mary Horvitz. They envision that the program, with its century-long chain of standing committees, study panels and growing digital archive, will remain a center of vigilance as the future unfolds.

“We’re excited about kicking off a hundred years of observation and thinking about the influences of artificial intelligence on people and society,” said Horvitz.  “It’s our hope that the study, with its extended memory and long gaze, will provide important insights and guidance over the next century and beyond.”

Media contact: Tom Abate, Stanford Engineering: 650-815-1602, tabate@stanford.edu
Clifton B. Parker, Stanford News Service: 650-725-0224, cbparker@stanford.edu

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