Artificial intelligence (AI) is already reshaping our world in profound ways. So how to make sure it’s for the better? For starters, ensure that ethics underpins work in AI near and far. And ask questions such as: What are the biases we are inserting into AI data—and are they irreversible? Is there a moral obligation not to replace certain jobs with AI? Who should reap the benefits from AI’s productivity boost?
With that in mind, in 2017, SCU’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics (where Irina Raicu J.D. ’09 directs the Internet Ethics Program and Brian Patrick Green directs the Technology Ethics Program) became one of 21 new members of a powerhouse global partnership focused on the ethical and societal implications of AI. The Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society includes founding members such as Amazon.com, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.
Meanwhile, Shannon Vallor, who holds the William J. Rewak, S.J., Chair in philosophy and helps lead the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, has been tackling AI’s profound ethical challenges and what she calls “lessons from the AI mirror” in papers and talks, including the inaugural Santa Clara Magazine LIVE! series.
And students in the Leavey School of Business earning the new master’s degree in business analytics study machine learning and “deep learning” with Sanjiv Das, the William and Janice Terry Professor of Finance and Business Analytics. He has written about using deep learning in the financial-technology world with computer science and engineering student Robbie Culkin ’19.
Also in computer engineering, Assistant Professor Yi Fang challenges his students to use machine learning to predict how viewers will rank movies—while colleague Margareta Ackerman has created a machine-learning method for writing songs. And Associate Professor of Law Colleen Chien has been teaching “crash courses” on AI and the law.