Stanford University announced it is opening the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) with the mission to advance artificial intelligence (AI) research, education, policy, and practice to improve the human condition. The institute will work closely with companies across sectors, including technology, financial services, health care, and manufacturing, to create a community of advocates and partners at the highest level.
Formally launched at a symposium on Monday, Stanford HAI opening featured speakers such as Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates and California Governor Gavin Newsom, as well as leading experts Kate Crawford of NYU, Jeff Dean of Google, Demis Hassabis of DeepMind, Alison Gopnik of UC Berkeley, Reid Hoffman of Greylock Partners and Eric Horvitz of Microsoft Research.
HAI Faculty Team
The institute will be led by John Etchemendy, professor of philosophy and former Stanford University provost, and Fei-Fei Li, professor of computer science and former director of the Stanford AI Lab. More than 200 participating faculties from all seven schools at the university with plans to
to hire at least 20 new faculties, including 10 junior fellows, from across fields spanning humanities, engineering, medicine, the arts or the basic sciences, with a particular interest in those working at the intersection of disciplines. It will also house research fellows, convene groups of professionals to solve critical issues to humanity and distribute funding to spur novel research directions.
In addition, the institute will partner with organizations including AI4All, AI100, AI Index, Center for AI Safety and the Center for the Study of Language and Information. HAI, along with a new Data Science Institute, will anchor a planned 200,000-square-foot building that is intended to serve as a rallying point and catalyst for interdisciplinary collaboration.
Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI Areas of Focus
HAI will have three areas of focus:
Human Impact: focuses on how AI performs in practice, and guide and shape the way AI interacts with humans, their vital social structures and institutions, and the international order.
Scholarly research is needed to measure and manage a host of critical issues, including the extent to which algorithms introduce, compound, or mitigate business risk or bias; a “responsibility gap” between decisions made by machines and people; the use of AI for surveillance, population control, and waging war; and the impact of AI on industry structure, labor markets, economic growth, and trade across nations. Sample research projects include Correcting Gender and Ethnic Biases in AI Algorithms and The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Perceptions on Humanhood.
Augment Human Capabilities: Seeks to develop new human-centered design methods and tools so that AI agents and applications are designed and created with the ability to communicate with, collaborate with, and augment people more effectively, and to make their work better and more enjoyable. Sample research projects include Dynamic Artificial Intelligence-Therapy for Autism on Google and Learning Hepatic Feedback for Motion Feedback.
Intelligence: Current AI systems lack flexibility and contextual understanding, and resist explanation in human-comprehensible terms. To create a machine-assisted — yet human-centered — world, we must develop the next generation of AI techniques that overcome the limitations of current algorithms, expands the class of problems that can be addressed, and complements human cognitive and analytic styles. Tackling these challenges on both the theoretical and practical levels requires substantial fundamental research. Sample research projects include Adversarial Example for Humans and Free Exploration in Human-Centered AI Systems.
Milestones to Date
The institute has already provided support to roughly 55 interdisciplinary research teams across all seven schools at Stanford, including a project to assist the resettlement of refugees; a system to improve healthcare delivery in hospital intensive care units; and a study of the impact of autonomous vehicles on social governance and infrastructure. A diverse class of fellows from fields such as engineering, journalism, philosophy and security will begin later this year, and faculty searches are underway.
“AI is no longer just a technical field,” she said. “If we’re going to make the best decisions for our collective future, we need technologists, business leaders, educators, policy makers, journalists and other parts of society to be versed in AI, and to contribute their perspectives. Stanford’s depth of expertise across academic disciplines combined with a rich history of collaboration with experts and stakeholders from around the world make it an ideal platform for this institute,” said Fei-Fei Li, professor of computer science and former director of the Stanford AI Lab.