Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Institute Aims to Put Humans at the Center of this Field

Stanford HAI
Image: Stanford HAI

The term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ was coined by a Stanford University scientist, while others at the university created some of the most significant applications of it. Now, the university wants to put humans and ethics at the center of this field.

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Stanford University just launched a new institute committed to studying, guiding and developing human-centered artificial intelligence technologies and applications. The mission of the new institute, known as the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), is to advance artificial intelligence (AI) research, education, policy and practice to improve the human condition, reports Wu Tsai Neuroscience Institute at Stanford University.

Stanford HAI leverages the university’s strength across all disciplines, including: business, economics, education, genomics, law, literature, medicine, neuroscience, philosophy and more. These complement Stanford’s tradition of leadership in AI, computer science, engineering and robotics.

HAI 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.

Stanford University AI institute
John Etchemendy and Fei-Fei Li will be directing the new Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. (Image credit: Drew Kelly)

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said artificial intelligence has the potential to radically change how we live our lives. “Now is our opportunity to shape that future by putting humanists and social scientists alongside people who are developing artificial intelligence,” he said. “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.”

Stanford HAI was formally launched at a symposium on March 18 featuring 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.

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“I could not have envisioned that the discipline I was so interested in would, a decade and a half later, become one of the driving forces of the changes that humanity will undergo,” said Fei-Fei Li, an AI pioneer and former Google vice president who is one of two directors of the new Stanford institute. “That realization became a tremendous sense of responsibility.”

Stanford University will be part of the WT | Wearable Technologies Conference in San Francisco on July 9-10. Stay tuned for the agenda release!