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Join us October 6 for Artificial Intelligence: Game Changer or Game Over?

The rapid proliferation of artificial intelligence in the 21st century is both promising and fraught, and for good reason—for decades, popular culture has envisioned how this futuristic technology might serve or even destroy humanity. From Rosey the sassy robot maid in the Jetsons to the sinister HAL 9000 computer in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and including seemingly endless depictions in-between those extremes, our art has anticipated both helpful, symbiotic relationships and destructive confrontations between biological humanity and human-created intelligent technologies.

But now that AI is here with us, what is the reality? How are artificial intelligences serving humanity today and how will their roles evolve tomorrow? What pitfalls come with the benefits of using AI? How do we harness the power of AI without becoming dangerously over-reliant?

These are some of the questions the Office of the Vice President for Research will invite the university community to explore on Thursday, October 6, 2022, when we convene a panel of university faculty experts from diverse research backgrounds to discuss their insights on the ethics and implications of artificial intelligence. 

We are so excited to invite the entire university community to save the date and join us for Artificial Intelligence: Game Changer or Game Over?, a stimulating and timely panel discussion on the ethical and societal implications surrounding the use of artificial intelligence, sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Sign up to receive event reminders, news and updates in your inbox, and don’t forget to save the date. (Registration is strongly recommended, but not required. This event is free and open to the public.)

 

Meet the Panelists

The Office of the Vice President for Research has assembled a panel of outstanding faculty researchers representing a wide variety of disciplines from engineering to health sciences, business and law. Want to learn more? 

 

Panelist Bios

The Office of the Vice President for Research is honored to welcome UofSC faculty researchers Forest Agostinelli, Orgul Ozturk, Jane Roberts and Bryant Walker Smith, as panelists for AI: Game Changer or Game Over? The discussion will be moderated by Julius Fridriksson, the university’s VP for Research. Though these five research superstars have varying levels of experience working directly with AI technologies, they share a common interest in harnessing AI’s potential for purposes that will serve, rather than harm, humanity. Their interest in AI ethics will be on full and fascinating display at AI: Game Changer or Game Over?

Photo of Forest Agostinelli

Forest Agostinelli, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, College of Engineering and Computing

Forest Agostinelli is an AI expert with the Artificial Intelligence Institute of UofSC where he researches the use of explainable AI to discover new knowledge. While many AI algorithms can perform remarkably well on tasks like protein folding, medical image analysis, game playing and puzzle solving, the “thought process” of these AI methods is unintelligible to humans. This creates a lack of trust between humans and AI, and limits human capability to make new discoveries using AI. Dr. Agostinelli’s research attempts find ways to bridge this explainability gap using the Rubik’s cube as a case study. His research aims to build a positive feedback loop where humans can learn from AI and AI can learn from humans. Agostinelli emphasizes that AI’s power to automate helpful tasks like video captioning can also be used to make destructive activities like surveillance and war easier.

Photo of Orgul Ozturk

Orgul Ozturk, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Darla Moore School of Business

Orgul Ozturk is a microeconomist who analyzes how policies result in disparate impacts on people in labor markets, health care and education, especially the unintended short- and long-term consequences these policy decisions have for minorities and other marginalized groups. As a researcher of economic disparities, Dr. Ozturk has thought a lot about the potential risks and opportunities that come with AI technology. While Dr. Ozturk sees potential for AI to improve diagnosis and early detection of illnesses, allocate resources more efficiently and perform important but dangerous tasks in environments not suited for humans, she also has concerns about deep fakes, oppressive surveillance and the potential for AI applications like these to amplify the racial, cultural, gender and socioeconomic biases of the humans who train AI. Ozturk recognizes that humans will likely over-rely on AI before finding the right balance.

Photo of Jane Roberts

Jane Roberts, Ph.D., Carolina Distinguished Professor and Associate Dean for Natural Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences

Jane Roberts directs the UofSC Neurodevelopmental Disorders Lab where she and her colleagues study cognitive and behavioral functioning in people with neurodevelopmental disorders like autism and Down syndrome. Dr. Roberts is interested in the intersection between AI and her research on early detection of autism and anxiety in high-risk infants and children. She sees potential for AI to enhance diagnostics by automating the integration of multiple data streams to generate more accurate diagnoses, and to augment screening programs that identify high-risk cases for surveillance or preventative efforts. As a psychologist, she  notes that AI could also help us better understand how mind and body interact through enhanced signal detection—for example, tracking what study subjects are looking at on a screen—and signal integration, by factoring in both behavioral measures and biological indicators.

Photo of Bryant Walker Smith

Bryant Walker Smith, J.D., Associate Professor, School of Law

Bryant Walker Smith’s research focuses on what he calls the “law of the newly possible,” meaning how law affects technology and how technology affects law. For the past decade his AI research has focused on automated driving, which relies heavily on AI. As part of this work, Smith has written and spoken extensively on the ethics of AI. He notes that AI is contributing to social change happening so rapidly, people and societies cannot comfortably adjust. Although he is excited about the long-term possibilities for amazing AI applications like improved communication between humans and other animals, Smith asserts that AI ethics must seriously grapple with vital questions around who could be intentionally or unintentionally empowered or disempowered, and how AI can be used to enhance autonomy and community rather than eroding these important values.

Photo of Julius Fridriksson

Moderated by Julius Fridriksson, Ph.D., UofSC Vice President for Research

VP for Research Julius Fridriksson has employed machine learning approaches to analyze neuroimaging data in his research lab for close to a decade. By using this form of AI, his team has enhanced understanding of the relationship between patient factors like MRI scans and their prognosis after stroke, and of the interaction between the brain and behavior, such as how speech and language are processed inside of the brain. Through these techniques, Fridriksson and his colleagues can accurately predict the extent of expected recovery for individual stroke patients. Dr. Fridriksson also acknowledges the downsides of AI, explaining that Facebook and Twitter are two obvious examples of technologies that use AI algorithms intended to maximize user engagement, but that ultimately had the side effect of driving political polarization and even violence that has divided communities across the globe.

 

Artificial Intelligence: Game Changer or Game Over?

Thursday, October 6, 2022
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Darla Moore School of Business
W.W. Hootie Johnson Hall
1014 Greene Street
Columbia, SC 29208

 

Updated: September 2022


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