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Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence to Focus on AI for a Better Future

A new institute is being launched by Stanford University for analyzing, guiding¸ and creating human-centered artificial intelligence applications and technologies.

John Etchemendy and Fei-Fei Li will co-direct the new Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. (Image credit: Drew Kelly for Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence)

The Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (Stanford HAI) has been based on the principles of leadership in artificial intelligence at the university, with a focus on the diversity of thoughts and multidisciplinary partnership. The aim of the institute is to improve artificial intelligence (AI) studies, policy, education¸ and practice to enhance the condition of humans.

The university-wide institute is dedicated to collaborating with government and non-governmental organizations as well as industry that share the objective of a more improved future for humanity via AI.

As a part of this dedication, the institute is partnering with companies across various sectors, including manufacturing, technology, health care, and financial services, to develop a community of partners and advocates at the highest level.

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, will lead Stanford HAI.

With state-of-the-art engineering, medical, humanities, and social sciences schools situated on the same campus as experts in policy, law, and business, Stanford HAI anticipates becoming a global interdisciplinary hub for AI developers, researchers, learners, users, and builders from industry, academia, and government, and also leaders and policymakers from civil society who want to learn the potential and impact of AI and contribute to creating a better future.

According to Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, AI has the ability to drastically transform the way people live their lives.

Now is our opportunity to shape that future by putting humanists and social scientists alongside people who are developing artificial intelligence. This approach aligns with Stanford’s founding purpose to produce knowledge for the betterment of humanity. I am deeply thankful to our supporters who are providing foundational funding for the institute, which is a critical element for our vision for the future of Stanford University.

Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President, Stanford University

On Monday, March 18th, 2109, Stanford HAI will be formally launched at a symposium, which will feature speakers like Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and philanthropist; Gavin Newsom, California Governor; and also renowned experts Jeff Dean of Google, Kate Crawford of NYU, Eric Horvitz of Microsoft Research, Reid Hoffman of Greylock Partners, Alison Gopnik of UC Berkeley, and Demis Hassabis of DeepMind.

Around 200 participating faculty from all seven schools at the Stanford University will be participating during the launch of the institute. In association with appropriate departments and schools, the institute has also planned to recruit a minimum of 20 new faculties, which will also include 10 junior fellows from across domains covering medicine, engineering, humanities, basic sciences or the arts with a specific interest in those functioning at the intersection of disciplines. In addition, the institute will accommodate research fellows, convene teams of professionals to solve significant problems related to humanity and distribute funding to promote new research directions. The institute will also team up with organizations like AI100, AI4All, AI Index, the Center for the Study of Language and Information, and the Center for AI Safety. Together with a new Data Science Institute, HAI will anchor a scheduled 200,000-square-foot building that is meant for serving as a catalyst and rallying point for interdisciplinary partnership.

Solutions for society

Stanford HAI is the initial initiative to launch out of Stanford University's long-range planning process, which was started in 2017 with an open invitation to staff, faculty, and students to submit concepts for how Stanford University can empower avid research and creativity, and speed up solutions for society. A process like that led to various focus areas with teams strategizing the best way to exploit the unique strengths of Stanford University to deal with difficulties in many different fields such as basic research, health, education, and the environment.

As society enters the age of AI, the cross-campus partnership emerged from that process as a pressing challenge. This new period of AI can help people to achieve their shared vision of a better future for all mankind. It also has the ability to bring disruptions and challenges that societies worldwide will need to be ready to confront.

According to Etchemendy, who is also the Patrick Suppes Family Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, the institute will turn out to be a global educator and meeting hub for AI.

Its biggest role will be to reach out to the global AI community, including universities, companies, governments and civil society to help forecast and address issues that arise as this technology is rolled out. We do not believe we have answers to the many difficult questions raised by AI, but we are committed to convening the key stakeholders in an informed, fact-based quest to find those answers.

John Etchemendy, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Stanford University

Stanford and Li’s position on the significance of the diversity of thought is special within the growing field of AI.

AI is no longer just a technical field. 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.

Fei-Fei Li, Professor, Department of Computer Science, Stanford University

Introducing the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence

The emergence of artificial intelligence has the potential to radically alter how we live our lives. This new era can bring us closer to our shared dream of creating a better future for all of humanity. It will also bring opportunities and challenges that we can’t yet foresee, requiring a true diversity of thought. Stanford HAI aims to become a global, inter-disciplinary hub for discussion and development of AI. (Video credit: Stanford University)

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