“Mission AI is about giving people access to the research that is defining our future so that they can participate in the problem-solving with the research community. Mission AI is AI research for the people, by the people.” — Charlie Oliver
NEW YORK, NY, June 21, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ — Building on in its mission to provide an platform for people to learn about and discuss the implications of emerging technologies, and to have a voice in developing the technologies of the future, Tech 2025 has announced the launch of “Mission AI Research” – an initiative to introduce its community and the general public to practical, interdisciplinary, AI and machine learning research with an emphasis on social science.
Through a combination of live think tank events, online workshops and live chats, and community-funded research, Mission AI will provide a platform for people (regardless of their background and level of technical expertise) to participate in AI research and to engage in discussions and exercises on practical, applied AI research to help them think critically about some of the big problems we are facing implementing AI – particularly problems related to AI risk, ethics, and algorithmic fairness. Additionally, Mission AI will provide a platform for post-grad research assistants to engage with the general public on their research and ideas (an aspect of AI research that is currently missing).
The new initiative comes at a crucial time as governments and big tech companies around the world race to develop and harness the most powerful AI technologies while, at the same time, we are beginning to see the potentially negative impact of unleashing algorithms that are biased or that make potentially devastating decisions that cannot fully explain (black boxes). Yet and still, tech companies are struggling to develop safeguards to keep AI from being used maliciously and destructively by bad actors in the future, while the general public is unaware of these threats.
Hype cycles aside, the pace of AI research and development is, without a doubt, accelerating. According to research by IDC, worldwide spending on artificial intelligence and cognitive systems will increase to $46 billion in 2020, up 768% from 2016. While McKinsey reports that big tech companies including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, Apple, Amazon and Baidu spent between $20B to $30B on AI in 2016, with 90% of this spent on R&D and deployment (the other 10% was spent on acquisitions). Also driving this flurry of AI investment are VCs who, worldwide, have poured more than $10.8 billion into AI and machine learning companies, driving a need for companies to hire employees (technical non-technical) who can help understand and apply these technologies.
But while big tech companies and education institutions are pouring gobs of money into AI research, and have all launched organizations to address the most pressing concerns around AI ethics and safety (like Open AI, AI Now, Deep Mind, to name a few), these initiatives have not yet included public education and outreach as a substantive part of their mission.
This glaring omission in the AI research ecosystem is precisely the gap that Mission AI seeks to fill. Charlie Oliver, Founder and CEO of Tech 2025, believes this is an imperative that can no longer be ignored or delayed:
“You cannot change the world for the better with AI without educating and engaging the general public in all aspects of its development and implementations. If companies and governments don’t begin to invest heavily in the problem-solving power of ordinary people to help figure this stuff out, we may all pay a heavy price in the long run. What we seek to do with Mission AI is to use compelling research to empower and inspire people to participate substantively in the discussion, and to generate ideas, solutions and new models. People have been telling us they want to do more. Mission AI Research will bridge the gap between AI researchers, practitioners, corporations implementing these technologies and their workforce, and the general public.” — Charlie Oliver (CEO, Tech 2025)
Since it first launched in January 2017, Tech 2025 has been planting seeds of this mission all along by introducing its community to AI research and researchers at numerous think tanks.
Ultimately, the goal of Mission AI is to help people to become more literate, confident and engaged in AI research so that they can become more informed, creative problem-solvers in the workplace (where they will increasingly be expected to work with AI technologies), as consumers in need of privacy/data protections, and in government (where new legislation is desperately needed to carry us into this next era of innovation). Just as important, Mission AI will give researchers a platform for engaging with (and listening to!) the general public’s feedback on AI and their research.
Mission AI will:
— Inject diversity and the voice of the general public in the ongoing debate about how to make AI safe and equitable;
— Educate the public on practical AI research ecosystem and how research is used to solve problems and create solutions in business, education, government, and consumer products;
— Keep the community up to date on the most consequential research being published and facilitate discussions around it;
— Bridge the gap between the general public and the AI research community so that there can be a sharing of knowledge and exchange of ideas between the academic/technical practitioners and the non-technical public;
— Provide a platform for researchers (particularly research assistants) to engage with the general public about their research and ideas in ways they currently cannot in institutions; and
— Publish AI research funded by the general public to present to the professional AI research community and companies.
The program launches in June with a Summer-long series of live think tank events and online events. Advisors include Dr. Andrew Maynard (Director, Risk Innovation Lab at Arizona State University), Deborah Bryant (Senior Director Open Source and Standards at Red Hat), Randi Williams (Graduate Research Assistant at MIT Media Lab).
Andrew Maynard sees the need for a platform like Mission AI now more than ever. Notes Maynard:
“AI has tremendous potential to improve our lives. But it’s by no means a given that experts will have the insights needed to develop the technology responsibly, or that people potentially affected by it will have a say in how AI is developed and used. Mission AI provides a critical nexus between AI experts and members of the public that will help inform and guide socially responsible AI research and development, while engaging a wider audience in the tremendous excitement and transformative power associated with this technology.” — Dr. Andrew Maynard
Additional advisors and partners to be announced in the coming weeks.
For questions, additional information or interviews, contact Rebeca Cornejo (Media Coordinator) at theteam[at]tech2025.com.
Tech 2025 is a platform and community for learning about, and discussing, the most consequential emerging technologies that will impact our world in the next 10 years including AI, Machine Learning, VR/AR/MR, Driverless Vehicles, Robot Automation, 3D Printing, Space Tech, Drones, Internet of Things, Blockchain, and Sustainable Technologies (phew!). In addition to teaching the general public about these technologies that are evolving quicker than we can fully understand them, we facilitate discussions on practical problems, legislation, and the broader societal implications of these technologies.
Our interactive Workshops, Tech Talks, Panels, and Experiential Tech Events, are based on the latest news, trends, and research presented by industry experts, in an intimate setting that facilitates think-tank discussions, creative problem-solving, strategizing on real-world applications, and networking. Tech 2025 is for anyone who wants to learn about the latest news and opportunities in emerging technologies and who wants to actively participate in developing innovative solutions that will carry us into The Fourth Industrial Revolution.
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