Artificial intelligence promises to usher in fundamental change in our society, affecting everything from business to government, working life to personal time. As AI becomes more powerful, pervasive and disruptive the implications for society are unclear. CIFAR’s AI & Society program aims to examine the questions AI will pose for society involving the economy, ethics, policy making philosophy and the law.

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Advances in AI are quickly creating computers that can think and act in ways that used to required human intelligence. Not only can computer programs now beat people at chess, go and Jeopardy! – they’re also better than people at recognizing faces, are as good at understanding spoken language, are better at interpreting some medical diagnostics, and are rapidly learning to drive cars by themselves. And the advances are continuing, spurred on by better algorithms, more computing power, and tremendous amounts of data.

The effects will be profound. In the same way that the internal combustion engine changed where and how people live, and the transistor led to entire industries based on computers and communications, AI will likely make huge and disruptive changes in society. By thinking about those changes early on, we are more likely to be able to deal with the challenges, and take full benefit of the opportunities.

(+) Call for proposals

In March, CIFAR will launch a Call for Workshops targeted at priority areas in AI & Society. These will provide up to $50,000 to bring together new international and interdisciplinary teams to explore emerging questions about how AI could affect the world. Priorities will be informed by CIFAR’s AI & Society Council and will target important emerging questions facing the world. Each workshop will lead to a publication that helps to inform policymakers, NGOs, innovators or others. 

(+) Upcoming Workshops & Events

Toronto Policy Lab

Workshop: What’s at Stake in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
June 16, 2018 | Palo Alto

Many economists and industry leaders think the world is entering a period of profound technological change constituting a Fourth Industrial Revolution. The workshop will bring together researchers who study the social dimensions of technology—anthropologists, historians, sociologists, and experts in management studies—to put the Fourth Industrial Revolution in broader sociocultural and historical contexts.

(+) Additional Reports & Resources

Global interest in this topic is growing. The following is a selection of reports and initiatives that might be of interest. 

AI Now 2017 Symposium Report

Building on the inaugural 2016 report, the AI Now 2017 Report addresses the most recent scholarly literature in order to raise critical social questions that will shape our present and near future. This report focuses on new developments in four areas: labor and automation, bias and inclusion, rights and liberties, and ethics and governance. We identify emerging challenges in each of these areas and make recommendations to ensure that the benefits of AI will be shared broadly, and that risks can be identified and mitigated.

Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Well-being with Autonomous and Intelligent Systems

Ethically Aligned Design will provide insights and recommendations that provide a key reference for the work of technologists in the related fields of science and technology in the coming years.

DeepMind Ethics and Society 

DeepMind Ethics & Society is a research unit that aims to explore the key ethical challenges facing the field of AI, through interdisciplinary work that brings together the technical insights of our team at DeepMind and the diverse range of people who will be affected by it.

The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Artificial Intelligence and National Security

The report proposes three goals for developing future policy on AI and national security: preserving U.S. technological leadership, supporting peaceful and commercial use, and mitigating catastrophic risk. By looking at four prior cases of transformative military technology—nuclear, aerospace, cyber, and biotech—the authors develop lessons learned and recommendations for national security policy toward AI.

For more information please contact Brent Barron

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