The institute is launching with 200 participating faculty members from the university's seven schools and will add at least 20 new faculty members in the humanities, engineering, medicine, the arts and basic sciences. It will also work with companies in finance, technology, health care and manufacturing. The initiative has already supported about 55 interdisciplinary research teams including a project to assist the resettlement of refugees; a system to improve health care delivery in hospital intensive-care units; and a study of the impact of autonomous vehicles on social governance and infrastructure.
The institute is led by philosophy professor and former provost John Etchemendy and Fei-Fei Li, a computer science professor and former director of the Stanford AI Lab. On Monday, Li said that about five years ago she became concerned that a very narrow group of people was developing technology, and most AI developers were "guys in hoodies."
"There is a lack of (diverse) representation and a need for a more human mission," she said.
Gates said that AI has tremendous potential to impact health outcomes in developing countries, places where he has a particular interest and has made many contributions through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
"Up to 20 percent of children in very poor countries die before the age of 5, and 40 percent of the remainder will never develop physically or mentally to their full capacity. ... Their ability to learn and contribute is permanently damaged," he said.
AI's ability to look at the microcosmic level has reaped some valuable information that could not have been deduced otherwise. Gates said that in one research study, they found that giving azithromycin, an antibiotic costing only pennies a dose, could save 100,000 lives, but it is disappearing from patients' systems within a few days.
"So there's something about their microbiome (in the gut) that is having a profound effect, and I don't believe that without machine-learning techniques that we will ever be able to take the dimensionality of this problem and be able to find a solution about what is going on there."
Gates believes that in the next 10 years new medicines will be discovered at rapid paces because of AI.
He also said AI could be particularly useful for solving issues related to education, such as why dropout rates have really not improved; why some teachers are so good; why some students are not motivated; what makes some teachers so effective; and what interventions really work.
"That would be a very profound thing," he said. "I think it is a chance, given the incredibly general-purpose nature of these technologies, to find patterns and insights. It's a chance to do something in terms of social-science policy — particularly education policy — also health care quality, health care costs. ... It's a chance to supercharge the social sciences with the most important by far being education itself," he said.
Still, he said, development of human-centered AI requires responsible management.
"The world hasn't had too many technologies that are both promising and dangerous," he said. "With AI, the power of it is so incredible that it will change society in some very deep ways. The fact that the technology is moving so quickly (as are) the policies and understanding around it — even something as simple as face recognition — what sort of awareness and use case should there be for that?"
Newsom said the country and the state are only contributing a pittance toward scaling up training for the AI revolution. He noted that Singapore is offering every citizen a rebate and tax break based on age to improve their skills to address the changing reality in every industry affected by AI.
Their road map is measured not in decades but in three to four years, a stark contrast to the lack of a national training program in the U.S.
California's state budget has dedicated $10 million to increase AI training at community colleges, Newsom said.
Stanford plans to build a 200,000-square-foot building that will house the Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence and a new Data Science Institute.
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