In 2017 the Berkman Klein Center and the MIT Media Lab launched the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative, which is aimed at 1) promoting the use of AI for the public good through evidence-based research that provides guidance for decision-makers across the private and public sectors; 2) fostering a network of interdisciplinary researchers focused on AI ethics and governance-related issues; and 3) strengthening relationships between industry, academia, civil society, and government.
As a hybrid research effort and philanthropic fund, the Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative incubates a range of research, prototyping, and advocacy activities both within the Berkman Klein Center and the MIT Media Lab as anchor institutions, and across the broader ecosystem of civil society. Currently, the Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative is supporting work in three domains: AI and Justice, Information Quality, and Autonomy and Interaction. Most recently, through the AI and the News Open Challenge, it has awarded $750,000 in funding to seven projects shaping the effects that artificial intelligence has on the field of news and information. For more information about the initiative, see the Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative website. Across all of its work, the Initiative has a strong emphasis on issues of diversity and inclusion in attempt to broaden the dialogue and engage many of the stakeholders, particularly those in the Global South, for whom AI technologies might have significant impacts.
In addition to playing a key strategic and advisory role to the Initiative, the Berkman Klein Center has undertaken research efforts that focus largely on three areas:
1. Autonomy and the State: Governments play an increasing role as both consumer and regulator of automated technologies. How is AI straining our notions of human autonomy, due process, and justice?
2. Autonomy and the Platform: How are automated technologies on social and media platforms impacting civic life and reshaping democratic norms?
3. The University — A Countervailing Force: What community-building and educational efforts can we design to preserve human autonomy in an increasingly automated world?