Berkman Klein Center and MIT Media Lab to Collaborate on the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence

Supported by the Knight Foundation, Omidyar Network, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Hewlett Foundation, and more

January 10, 2017

Artificial intelligence and complex algorithms, fueled by the collection of big data and deep learning systems, are quickly changing how we live and work, from the news stories we see, to the loans for which we qualify, to the jobs we perform. Because of this pervasive impact, it is imperative that AI research and development be shaped by a broad range of voices—not only by engineers and corporations—but also social scientists, ethicists, philosophers, faith leaders, economists, lawyers, and policymakers.

To address this challenge, several foundations and funders today announced the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, which will support interdisciplinary research to ensure that AI develops in a way that is ethical, accountable, and advances the public interest. The Berkman Klein Center and the MIT Media Lab will act as anchor academic institutions for this fund and develop a range of activities, research, tools, and prototypes aimed at bridging the gap between disciplines and connecting human values with technical capabilities. We will work together to strengthen existing and form new interdisciplinary human networks and institutional collaborations, and serve as a collaborative platform where stakeholders working across disciplines, sectors, and geographies can meet, engage, learn, and share.

Enabled by support from the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, we are excited to collaborate on a range of activities that will include a diverse array of voices and seek to discern and preserve the human element that is so often lost in highly technical AI conversations. As anchor institutions in the Fund, Berkman Klein and the Media Lab will take a lead in fostering research that applies the humanities, the social sciences, and other disciplines to the development of AI. Working in partnership with the Fund, we will work to create an expanding global network of scholars, experts, advocates, and thinkers, whose scholarship, experimentation, energies, and impacts can be enhanced through new collaborative, interdisciplinary partnerships.

We invite you to learn more about this effort via:

We welcome public engagement in the research projects taking place across the Berkman Klein Center, the MIT Media Lab and other planned research partners. Currently, we are not planning an open call for funding, but we welcome discussions with all institutions and individuals engaging in research related to developing ethical AI in the public interest. As well, we look forward to working with people interested in exploring some of the issues detailed in the announcement, and invite people who think about these myriad challenges to consider the Berkman Klein fellowship program as one potential avenue for community engagement.  Questions can be sent to ai-questions@cyber.harvard.edu.

Last updated

July 7, 2017