The Truth About Killer Robots: AI in the Media
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Mueller
October 21, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Event is free but registration is required.

Public Interest Technology Night
Public Interest Technology night with UT's Good Systems grand challenge and Austin area industry leaders.
Capital Factory
November 5, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Event is free, but registration is required.

Coexisting with AI

Artificial intelligence is a system that can correctly interpret data, learn from it, and then use what it has learned to adapt in order to achieve specific goals autonomously. It improves our everyday lives, but not without risk.

AI is changing the way we do everything because it’s everywhere — from dating apps to the most advanced military weapons systems. AI does many things faster and better than humans can alone, but there are ethical and societal implications to consider.

How can we ensure that AI is beneficial — not detrimental — to humanity? What unintended consequences are we overlooking by developing technology that can be manipulated and misused?

 

Our goal is to create a new way of designing values-based AI technologies that both protect and improve our world.

To do that, our team brings students and researchers together from more than two dozen schools and units on The University of Texas at Austin campus to investigate how to define, evaluate, and build a “Good System” from the beginning instead of relying on policy to make them safer once they’re in use.

It is ethically irresponsible to focus only on what AI can do. We believe it is equally important to ask what it should (and should not) do.


VALUES-DRIVEN AI

All advances in society require balancing what we value. We balance the value of national security with those of privacy and liberty, and sometimes we must choose safety over profit margins. Recent advances in AI technology, though, have brought us to a crossroads where we will soon be making new and difficult choices about what we prioritize as a society. This is important because while AI by itself isn’t good or bad, it’s also not neutral — it reflects the biases of the people who design, train, and use it.

Our goal is to better understand what changes these new technologies will bring, predict how those changes will unfold, and mitigate the harms or unintended consequences they could cause while still leveraging the benefits AI provides. Over the next eight years, our team will establish a framework for evaluating, developing, implementing, and regulating AI-based technologies so they reflect human values at their core.

 

Define Good Systems

Human values are different across individuals and groups of people, and they change over time. What does it mean for a system that uses AI technology to be “good” (or not)?

EVALUATE Good Systems

Once a system that includes AI technology is in use, how do we decide if it is good (or not)? We will develop a framework that can be used to decide.

BUILD Good Systems

How can we ensure that the systems we create will be good? We must prepare our future workforce to design productive human-AI partnerships.

IMPLEMENT Good Systems

We will develop a set of best practices that are transparent and adaptable for designing and using AI and for predicting and mitigating its risks.

 

 

 

Year One Funded Projects

Good systems are human-AI partnerships that address the needs and values of society. Developing them is our mission.

Building and Testing Machine Learning Methods for Metadata Generation in Audiovisual Collections

Building and Testing Machine Learning Methods for Metadata Generation in Audiovisual Collections

Audiovisual (AV) materials play a fundamental role as historical and scientific records. AV materials provide evidence for every activity on earth from endangered languages to rare bird calls to the … Keep reading

Design of Fair AI Systems via Human-Centric Detection and Mitigation of Biases

Design of Fair AI Systems via Human-Centric Detection and Mitigation of Biases

AI systems may not only reproduce data bias but even amplify it. Unfortunately, even defining data bias is difficult, let alone detecting and mitigating it. For example, consider bias by … Keep reading

Designing Human-AI Partnerships for Information Search and Evaluation

Designing Human-AI Partnerships for Information Search and Evaluation

Grounding the pursuit of responsible AI in the context of a real societal challenge — misinformation — forces researchers to translate abstract questions into real, practical problems to solve. We … Keep reading

Probabilistically Safe and Correct Imitation Learning

Probabilistically Safe and Correct Imitation Learning

Most AI research is concerned with best case (single demo) or average case performance. However, given in many safety-critical tasks such as robotics, average case performance is often not good … Keep reading

Bad AI and Beyond: Exploring How Popular Media Shape the Perceived Opportunities and Threats of AI

Bad AI and Beyond: Exploring How Popular Media Shape the Perceived Opportunities and Threats of AI

We will report on how media representations shape public perceptions of AI and then use what we learn to explore how we might better represent everyday interactions with AI to … Keep reading

How African-American and Latinx Youth Evaluate Their Experiences with Digital Assistants

How African-American and Latinx Youth Evaluate Their Experiences with Digital Assistants

As AI-driven devices and toys play an increasingly important role in children’s lives, little research has considered how social and economic disparities and cultural differences shape children’s engagement with AI. … Keep reading

Disinformation in Context: AI, Platforms, and Policy

Disinformation in Context: AI, Platforms, and Policy

Artificial intelligence and machine-driven content creation and circulation are significant components of contemporary disinformation efforts. We will describe and evaluate aspects of social media systems involved in disinformation campaigns. We … Keep reading

Ethical Data Design for Good Systems

Ethical Data Design for Good Systems

Data and the systems that manage it are not neutral but, instead, are part of the process that affects how AI-based technologies work. Not all data and computer scientists, however, … Keep reading

Privacy Preferences and Values for Computer Vision Applications

Privacy Preferences and Values for Computer Vision Applications

Technology is transforming people’s lives,  but it’s a constant struggle to ensure that technology designs address people’s values and preferences, especially those of traditionally underserved groups. Computer vision, as an … Keep reading

Urban Health Risk Mapping

Urban Health Risk Mapping

Develop an AI system that can measure the health effects of neighborhood environments in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin using citizen crowd-sourced data. The research team will map the … Keep reading


Meet the Team

Our  grand challenge team includes information and computer scientists, philosophers, robotics and transportation experts, communication and policy researchers — and more. And this year, we’ll begin recruiting faculty to fill four new ethicist positions in technology, artificial intelligence, media, and design.

Read full bioSamuel Baker

Samuel Baker

Associate ProfessorEnglish
Read full bioChandra Bhat

Chandra Bhat

ProfessorCivil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Read full bioTanya Clement

Tanya Clement

Associate ProfessorEnglish
Read full bioKenneth R. Fleischmann

Kenneth R. Fleischmann

ProfessorInformation
Read full bioJunfeng Jiao

Junfeng Jiao

Associate ProfessorArchitecture
Read full bioMatthew Lease

Matthew Lease

Associate ProfessorInformation
Read full bioPeter Stone

Peter Stone

ProfessorComputer Science
Read full bioSharon Strover

Sharon Strover

ProfessorJournalism
Read full bio

Amelia Acker

Information
University Engagement Member
Read full bio

Samuel Baker

English
Executive TeamMember
Education AdvisoryCo-chair
Read full bio

Chandra Bhat

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Executive TeamMember
Education AdvisoryCo-chair
Read full bio

Casey Boyle

Rhetoric and Writing
University EngagementMember
Read full bio

Aaron Choate

University of Texas Libraries
University EngagementMember
Read full bio

Tanya Clement

English
Executive TeamMember
University EngagementCo-chair
Read full bio

Maria Esteva

Texas Advanced Computing Center
Education AdvisoryMember
Read full bio

Kenneth R. Fleischmann

Information
Executive TeamChair
University EngagementCo-chair
Read full bio

Joydeep Ghosh

Electrical and Computer Engineering
External OutreachMember
Read full bio

Sherri Greenberg

Public Affairs
External OutreachMember
Read full bio

Junfeng Jiao

Architecture
Executive TeamChair-elect
External OutreachCo-chair
Read full bio

Matthew Lease

Information
Executive TeamMember
Research AdvisoryCo-chair
Read full bio

Katie Pierce Meyer

University of Texas Libraries
Education AdvisoryMember
Read full bio

Mary Neuberger

History
Research AdvisoryMember
Read full bio

Suzanne Scott

Radio-Television-Film
Research AdvisoryMember
Read full bio

Peter Stone

Computer Science
Executive TeamMember
Research AdvisoryCo-chair
Read full bio

Natalie Stroud

Communication Studies
External OutreachMember
Read full bio

Sharon Strover

Journalism
Executive TeamMember
External OutreachCo-chair
Read full bio

Paul Toprac

Computer Science
Education AdvisoryMember
Read full bio

S. Craig Watkins

Journalism
Research AdvisoryMember

Shani Alkobi

Computer Science
Read full bio

Kiril Avramov

Slavic and Eurasian Studies
Read full bio

Jakki Bailey

Information
Read full bio

Samuel Baker

English
Read full bio

Chandra Bhat

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Read full bio

Nilavra Bhattacharya

Information Studies
Read full bio

Alan Bovik

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Read full bio

Bobby Chesney

Law

Jaewon Choi

Kinesiology and Health Education
Read full bio

Tanya Clement

English
Read full bio

Valerie Danesh

Nursing
Read full bio

Anubrata Das

Information Studies

Chen Feng

Architecture

Julia Flanders

External AdvisorNortheastern University
Read full bio

Kenneth R. Fleischmann

Information

Judy Goldsmith

External AdvisorUniversity of Kentucky

Tessa Green

Program DirectorOffice of the Vice President for Research

Soumyajit Gupta

Computer Science
Read full bio

Danna Gurari

Information
Read full bio

Jacek Gwizdka

Information
Read full bio

Aditya Jain

Computational Engineering
Read full bio

Junfeng Jiao

Architecture
Read full bio

Yujin Kim

Communication Studies
Read full bio

Matthew Lease

Information

Laura Mandell

External AdvisorTexas A&M University

Trish Morrison

Journalism
Read full bio

Scott Niekum

Computer Science
Read full bio

Alison Norman

Computer Science

Doug Oard

External AdvisorUniversity of Maryland

Soyoung Park

Radio-Television-Film

Srinivas Peeta

External AdvisorGeorgia Institute of Technology

Arthur Peters

Computer Science
Read full bio

Bruce Porter

Computer Science
Read full bio

Jason Roberts

Slavic and Eurasian Studies
Read full bio

Christopher Rossbach

Computer Science
Read full bio

Loriene Roy

Information

Alan Rubel

External AdvisorUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
Read full bio

Natalia Ruiz-Juri

Center for Transportation Research
Read full bio

Maytal Saar-Tsechansky

Information, Risk, and Operations Management

Xun Shi

External AdvisorDartmouth College
Read full bio

Steve Slota

Information

Ravi Srinivasan

Applied Research Laboratories
Read full bio

Peter Stone

Computer Science
Read full bio

Sharon Strover

Journalism

John Thywissen

Computer Science
Read full bio

William Tierney

Population Health
Executive TeamFormer member
Read full bio

Paul Toprac

Computer Science
Read full bio

Sarah Welsh

English
Read full bio

Craig Wheeler

Astronomy
Read full bio

Paul Woodruff

Philosophy
Read full bio

Bo Xie

Nursing
Read full bio

Weijia Xu

Texas Advanced Computing Center
Read full bio

Yan Zhang

Information


Please Join Us on This Journey

2018 marked the beginning of our development year as a UT grand challenge. We used the time to grow our team, ask hard questions (then, even harder ones), and decide how to design our work over the next decade. We welcome and value your feedback, your thoughts, and your contributions.

Please follow us on social media, meet us at our events, and let us know why you think this is a grand challenge.