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Artificial Intelligence

New Stanford AI Study To Last 100 Years

Stanford University is undertaking a study of artificial intelligence that will last a century. The effort, named the "One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence" or AI100, will examine multiple aspects of AI and its on-going impact on life in areas that include economics, government, ethics, law, neuroscience and privacy.

The project will consist of standing committees, study panels and a digital archive that will recreate itself as time goes by. To kick off the work, a committee of academics and researchers will choose panelists to participate in a series of studies. Initially, their efforts will be guided by Russ Altman, a Stanford professor of bioengineering and computer science.

An initial standing committee will include experts in natural sciences, law, computer science, machine learning and AI. That group will identify topics worthy of study and convene panels to research and report on those issues.

The initiative was kicked off by Stanford alumnus Eric Horvitz, a computer scientist at Microsoft Research who formerly presided over the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. In 2009 he had convened a conference on AI that clarified the need for ongoing scrutiny of AI's long-term implications. Horvitz and his wife Mary will fund the new work.

"I'm very optimistic about the future and see great value ahead for humanity with advances in systems that can perceive, learn and reason," he said in a statement. "However, it is difficult to anticipate all of the opportunities and issues, so we need to create an enduring process."

Horvitz noted that he expected the work to be reinvented every several years as AI evolves and new topics of study are chosen.

"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," added Altman. "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."

"Artificial intelligence is one of the most profound undertakings in science, and one that will affect every aspect of human life," said Stanford President John Hennessy. "Given Stanford's pioneering role in AI and our interdisciplinary mindset, we feel obliged and qualified to host a conversation about how artificial intelligence will affect our children and our children's children."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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