Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, 2:15 – 3:30 p.m.
Bridging Barriers Suite, FAC 402
UT Austin Campus

In recent years, we have seen a rapid rise of education efforts from both the public and private sectors to teach our children about AI. School electives, after-school programs, summer camps, and nationwide initiatives with names like “Machine Learning for Kids” or “Building a Talking Robots” are popping up everywhere. The majority of the programs, however, focus on AI’s amazing power and teach children the technical skills to wield that power. But what about ethics?

In this talk, Tom Yeh will discuss two projects he and his students have worked on to study how we can best offer a balanced diet of AI and ethics. The first project is Qualified Self, which is an immersive theater production we created in order to situate audience in a probable futuristic world run by AI to examine AI ethics issues such as approximation of self, data ownership and privacy, presentation of data, and personalization. The second project is an effort to integrate AI ethics within existing education contexts in college education as well as in K12 education. The main lesson they’ve learned from both projects is that “out-of-context one-time binge learning” is not an effective method for children to learn and digest ethics, yet it is commonly assumed by existing AI education programs that children will eventually learn about ethics somewhere else. Dr. Yeh will present his vision of how we can best educate children about AI ethics by taking an integrated approach, which is to offer ethics on the same plate as AI in order to achieve a balanced and healthy diet!


Tom Yeh received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for studying vision-based user interfaces. In 2012, he joined the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) as an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. Prior to joining CU, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS). Yeh’s research interests include 3D printing, assistive technology, computer vision, big data, citizen science, and AI ethics. He has published more than 50 articles across these interest areas. He has received best paper awards and honorable mentions from CHI, UIST, SIGCSE, and MobileHCI. Yeh’s research projects are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Knight Foundation, and the Piton Foundation.