The National Humanities Center (NHC) is pleased to announce a new initiative to bolster college-level curricula for developing responsible artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.
Supported by a gift from Google, the NHC will partner with faculty from fifteen colleges and universities to create and implement courses designed to help students comprehend the myriad ways AI technologies are integrated into modern life and to think through the ethical issues involved in developing and deploying them.
Partner institutions selected to participate in this initiative include leading public and private research universities, liberal arts colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions from across the United States. They are:
- Arizona State University
- Bowdoin College
- Case Western Reserve University
- Davidson College
- Duke University
- George Mason University
- Johnson C. Smith University
- North Carolina State University
- Rice University
- Swarthmore College
- Texas A&M University
- University of California, Santa Cruz
- University of Florida
- University of Georgia
- University of Utah
Faculty from each of these institutions will gather at the National Humanities Center in June 2022 for an intensive, weeklong institute where they will discuss emerging understanding of the social and cultural dynamics of AI technologies as well as best pedagogical approaches for helping students engage with those ideas.
At the end of the summer gathering, faculty will develop course descriptions, learning goals, and syllabi for courses focused on developing responsible AI that will be offered to undergraduates at their home institutions during the 2023–24 academic year. Faculty will return to the Center in the spring/summer of 2024 to assess the impact of the courses on their campus and to make recommendations for wider dissemination and future phases anticipated to involve additional institutions in the United States and internationally.
“Artificial intelligence has infiltrated the ways we conduct business, govern, and communicate,” says Robert D. Newman, president and director of the National Humanities Center. “The large-scale cultural and societal implications associated with these changes—as well as the ethical questions they raise—pose a serious challenge. Inspired by recommendations that emerged from the In Our Image: Artificial Intelligence and the Humanities conference held in spring 2021, the role of the humanities in understanding and harnessing the enormous power and potential of artificial intelligence is clear.”
This initiative builds on the National Humanities Center’s longstanding commitment to making the insights of humanistic study and reflection more widely available both inside and outside the academic world. “For over forty years, the Center has helped bridge the space between scholarly research and the classroom,” says Newman. “Increasingly we need to train students with both STEM and humanities-derived skills so they can be prepared to address twenty-first-century challenges that require technical know-how and humanistic acumen.”
Many of the leading companies involved in developing and implementing artificial intelligence technologies have recognized this emerging, urgent need. Google’s support for the “Responsible AI” program reflects that broader industry concern as they and other companies seek to develop ai-driven technologies that consider the people who are using, and will be affected by, the powerful tools they create.
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