Making a Better World | Computing and Artificial Intelligence
 

The new MIT Schwarzman College of Computing will reorient the Institute to: bring the power of computing and AI to all fields of study at MIT; allow the future of computing and AI to be shaped by insights from all other disciplines; and advance research and education in public policy and ethical considerations to help ensure that new technologies are conceived and implemented in support of the greater good.

                                           
                    Selected Stories

MIT reshapes itself to shape the future
 

Gift of $350 million establishes the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, an unprecedented commitment to world-changing breakthroughs and their ethical application. "Faculty in a range of departments have a great deal to gain from new kinds of algorithmic tools," says Melissa Nobles, Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, "and a great deal of insight to offer their makers.” More

Provost's letter to the faculty about the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing

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FAQ on the newly established MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing

This set of FAQs offers information about the founding of the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, announced today, and its implications for the MIT community and beyond.

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Digital history project - map of ghost shipping routes

COMPUTING AND AI

MIT History launches seminar series on Digital Humanities

“This seminar series is part of our ongoing exploration of computational methods and digital media for research and teaching in the history field. Writ large, this new series is a space for us to reflect on our engagement with the new MIT Schwarzman College of Computing" — Jeffrey Ravel, head of MIT History More

Panelists at Ethics and AI event

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI

Making the path to ethical, socially beneficial AI
   

At celebration for the new MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, leaders from government, philanthropy, academia, and industry say collaboration is the key.
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Melissa Nobles, speaking at Hello World Celebration

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI

Coda | Computing for the People: Ethics and AI
 

A post-panel conversation with Melissa Nobles, Jennifer Chayes, and Joi Ito   More

Susan S. Silbey, Chair of the MIT Faculty

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI

Welcoming Remarks | Susan S. Silbey
Chair of the MIT Faculty

Celebration for the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing
28 February 2019 More

AI information network

Ethics, Computing, and AI | Perspectives from MIT
 

To support ongoing planning for the Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, Dean Melissa Nobles invited faculty from all five MIT schools to offer perspectives on the societal and ethical dimensions of emerging technologies. This series presents the resulting commentaries — practical, inspiring, concerned, and clear-eyed views from an optimistic community deeply engaged with one of the most consequential questions of our time. SERIES

Melissa Nobles, Kenan Sahin Dean

ETHICS, COMPUTING AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

Foreword | Melissa Nobles
 

"These commentaries implore us to be collaborative, foresighted, and courageous as we shape the new Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, and to proceed with judicious humility. Rightly so. We are embarking on an endeavor that will influence nearly every aspect of the human future." More

Scale of justice with a robot

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

INTRODUCTION
The Tools of Moral Philosophy | Caspar Hare and Kieran Setiya
 

"Framing a discussion of the risks of advanced technology entirely in terms of ethics suggests that the problems raised are ones that can and should be solved by individual action. In fact, many of the challenges presented by computer science will prove difficult to address without systemic change.” More

Heather Paxson, MIT Professor of Anthropology

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

Computing is Deeply Human | Stefan Helmreich and Healther Paxson
 

“Computing is not an external force that has an ‘impact’ on society; instead, society is built right into making, programming, and using computers. The computational is political. MIT can make that recognition one of the pillars of its aspiration to help build a better world." More

MIT Professor John Guttag

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

When Programs Become Unpredictable | John Guttag
 

“We should look forward to the many good things machine-learning will bring to society. But we should also insist that technologists study the risks and clearly explain them. And society as whole should take responsibility for understanding the risks and for making human-centric choices about how best to use this ever-evolving technology.” More

MIT Professor Bernhardt Trout

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

Safeguarding Our Humanity in the Age of AI | Bernhardt Trout
 

"To meet the challenge of making AI conducive to a worthy life, we need to think carefully about what is important about human life. The new MIT Schwarzman College of Computing offers us the opportunity to provide an education in varieties of human excellence." More

Mary Fuller, MIT Professor of Literature

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

The Common Ground of Stories | Mary Fuller
 

“Stories allow us to model interpretive, affective, ethical choices; they also become common ground, conceptual meeting places that can serve to gather very different kinds of interlocutors around a common object. We need these.” More

Leigh Hafrey, ethics, MIT Sloan School

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

Who’s Calling the Shots on Data and AI? | Leigh Hafrey
 

"When the lifeblood of tech companies is user data, we must adopt a full-on stakeholder view of business in society and the individual in business, lest we cede control of our livelihoods, our identity, and life itself.” More

Caroline A. Jones, MIT Professor of Art History

ETHICS, COMPUTING AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

In Praise of Wetware | Caroline A. Jones
 

“As we enshrine computation as the core of smartness, we would be well advised to think of the complexity of our ‘wet’ cognition, which entails a much more distributed notion of intelligence that goes well beyond the sacred cranium and may not even be bounded by our own skin.” More

David Kaiser MIT Professor

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

Blind Spots | David Kaiser
 

“MIT has a powerful opportunity to lead in the development of new technologies while also leading careful, deliberate, broad-ranging, and ongoing community discussions about the “whys” and 'what ifs,' not just the 'hows.' No group of researchers, flushed with the excitement of learning and building something new, can overcome the limitations of blind spots and momentum alone." More

MIT Professor Lisa Parks

ETHICS, COMPUTING AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

Addressing AI’s Impact on Society | Lisa Parks
 

"Given the power of AI tools to impact human behavior and shape planetary conditions, it is vital that a political, economic, and materialist analysis of the technology’s relation to global trade, governance, natural environments, and culture be conducted." More

Robin Wolfe Scheffler MIT Professor

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

Clues and Caution for AI from the History of Biomedicine
Robin Wolfe Scheffler
 

"The very intractability of biology and medicine to computation makes their history an essential counterpoint to more optimistic contemporary discussions of the challenges and opportunities for AI in society. Their past underlines two major points: ‘Quantification is a processes of  judgment and evaluation, not simple measurement’ and ‘Prediction is not destiny.’” More

T.L. Taylor, MIT Professor of Comparative Media Studies

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

The Environment for Ethical Actions | T.L. Taylor
 

"We can cultivate our students as ethical thinkers but if they aren’t working in (or studying in) structures that support advocacy, interventions, and pushing back on proposed processes, they will be stymied. Ethical considerations must include a sociological model that focuses on processes, policies, and structures and not simply individual actors." More

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

Biological Intelligence and AI | Matthew A. Wilson
 

“Understanding how innate morality arises in human intelligence may be an important step in incorporating such a capacity into artificial intelligences.” More

Bernardo Zacka, MIT political scientist

ETHICS, COMPUTING AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

Machine Anxiety | Bernardo Zacka
 

"To someone who studies bureaucracy, the anxieties surrounding artificial intelligence have an eerily familiar ring. So too does the excitement. For much of the 20th century, bureaucracies were thought to be intelligent machines, with all the positive and negative connotations the term carries." More

Hal Abelson, MIT Professor

ETHICS, COMPUTING AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

Blending and Bilinguals | Hal Abelson
 

"When we study society today, we can no longer separate humanities — the study of what’s human — from computing. MIT’s guideline should be President Reif’s goal to 'educate the bilinguals of the future,' experts in many fields who are also skilled in modern computing." More

D. Fox Harrell, MIT Professor of Digital Media and Artificial Intelligence

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

A Dream of Computing | D. Fox Harrell
 

"We must be vigilant stewards of the future of computing at MIT. We must reimagine our shared dreams for computing technologies as ones where their potential social and cultural impacts are considered intrinsic to the engineering practices of inventing them." More

Nick Montfort - MIT Professor of Digital Media

ETHICS, COMPUTING AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

A Network of Practitioners | Nick Montfort
 

"The new college presents an opportunity for many practitioners of computing at MIT. We should use this chance to build a truly robust network and to make many relevant types of connections." More

Susan S. Silbey, MIT Professor of Anthropology and Sociology

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

Two Commentaries | Susan S. Silbey, Chair of the MIT Faculty
 

Letters from the MIT Faculty Chair on teaching ethics, and on forming the new MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing. More

Abby Everett Jaques

ETHICS, COMPUTING, AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT

Ethical AI by Design | Q&A with Abby Everett Jaques, PhD '18
 

Jaques, an MIT Philosophy postdoctoral associate, is bringing the tools of philosophy to ethical questions related to information technologies.   More

News about the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing

Announcements, Letters, Updates More

Why do we hurt robots?
 

They are like us, but unlike us, and both fearsome and easy to bully. More

Are home health aides the new Turing Test for AI?
 

Professor David Mindell asks "What does it mean for a machine to be intelligent?"  More

Captivating algorithms: Recommender systems as traps
 

There is a tendency among these systems’ makers to describe their purpose as ‘hooking’ people – enticing them into frequent or enduring usage. More

Why Artificial Intelligence Like AlphaZero Has Trouble With the Real World
 

The latest artificial intelligence systems start from zero knowledge of a game and grow to world-beating in a matter of hours. But researchers are struggling to apply these systems beyond the arcade. More

The AI boom is happening all over the world, and it’s accelerating quickly
 

The second annual AI Index report pulls together data and expert findings on the field’s progress and acceleration More

Universal income vs. the robots: Meet the presidential candidate fighting automation
 

7 questions for Andrew Yang, the 2020 US presidential candidate pushing for basic income. More

sound wave and music tech gear

Music technology accelerates at MIT
 

An increasingly popular program is drawing students eager to build — and use — the next generation of tools for making music. More

MIT student group explores the ethical dimensions of artificial intelligence.
 

MIT AI Ethics Reading Group was founded by students who have seen firsthand that technology developed with the best of intentions can still be problematic. More

How 200-year-old Brooks Brothers is embracing AI and millennials — and why it may cozy up to Amazon
 

Fashion and AI meet More

Aligning AI with basic human values
 

Article at Brookings discusses why it is important that each of the primary qualities of artificial intelligence accords with basic human values. "Each of the AI features has the potential to move civilization forward in progressive ways. But without adequate safeguards or the incorporation of ethical considerations, the AI utopia can quickly turn into dystopia."   More

icon of self driving car

The Trolley Problem, continued
 

The news and feature stories collected here refer to "The Trolley Problem," a moral philosophy thought experiment developed by MIT philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson. For context, we provide background information on her original work. More

Why We Need to Audit Algorithms
 

"Ensuring that societal values are reflected in algorithms and AI technologies will require no less creativity, hard work, and innovation than developing the AI technologies themselves. We have a proposal for a good place to start: Auditing."  More

AI thinks like a corporation—and that’s worrying
 

Artificial intelligence was born of organisational decision-making and state power; it needs human ethics, says Jonnie Penn of the University of Cambridge More

MIT Open Learning launches Center for Advanced Virtuality
 

The new center will explore how MIT can use virtual reality and artificial intelligence and other technologies to better serve human needs. More

Robot Reality Check: They Create Wealth—and Jobs

 

Economists say automation is the key to next boom, and the U.S. is falling behind More

How technological innovation could amplify income inequality
 

"Technological advancement often brings the promise of increased efficiency in the workplace. But it also means apprehension about humans potentially being replaced by automation and artificial intelligence. In a new series, The Future of Work, Paul Solman explores the concept of 'creative destruction' and how innovation is poised to affect jobs, income inequality, mental health and more." More

AI and Automation Will Replace Most Human Workers Because They Don't Have to Be Perfect—Just Better Than You

 

The future of human work. More

Can we trust AI lie detectors?

 

From the Chips with Everything podcast More

Could AI predict crime?

UK police wants AI to stop violent crime before it happens

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Robots could help us take care of our elderly
 

Our aging population could make such a future inevitable. More

MIT to invest $1 billion in AI research
 

In its first fundamental restructuring in nearly 70 years, MIT announces that it will pump $1 billion into a new college focused on computing and artificial intelligence. More

I think, therefore I code

 

Senior Jessy Lin, a double major in EECS and philosophy, is programming for social good. More

laughing room poster

ART INNOVATION | COMPUTING AND AI

Inside The Laughing Room
 

An AI-powered laugh track amuses and unsettles in interactive installation. A work by Jonny Sun in collaboration with Hannah Davis, Christopher Sun, and MIT associate professor of literature Stephanie Frampton, head of the ARTificial Intelligence project   More

Artificial intelligence hits the barrier of meaning

 

Machine learning algorithms don’t yet understand things the way humans do — with sometimes disastrous consequences.  More

The Quartz guide to artificial intelligence

 

What is it, why is it important, and should we be afraid? More

Exploring the future of learning through virtual and augmented reality
 

At a recent symposium, MIT Open Learning invited experts to discuss the power of VR and AR tools to drive engagement with education. More

An AI pioneer, and the researcher bringing humanity to AI

 

The conscience of AI.  More

The World of A.I.
 

Judging by the breathless coverage, it can seem as if the only countries developing A.I. are the United States and China. But it’s still early for the industry and other nations are working hard to become major A.I. players. More

MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future announces advisory and research boards
 

Leaders from industry, academia, labor, government, foundations, andother organizations, as well as leading scholars in related fields, will provide guidance. More

Online hate is spreading; Internet platforms can't stop it
 

Media companies have not figured out what to do about the threats and abuse that pollute their platforms. More

Will there be a ban on killer robots?
 

Without a nonproliferation agreement, some diplomats fear the world will plunge into an algorithm-driven arms race. “A lot of A.I. technologies are being developed outside of government and released to the public. These technologies have generic capabilities that can be applied in many different domains, including in weaponization.”   More