Collaborating Authors



The conversation is on hold. The Edge community has hit the road... or they're staying home. Preparing for the academic year to begin, wrapping up projects and starting new ones, celebrating with family and friends or contemplating in solitude. After a hiatus, Edge is pleased to revive Summer Postcards: Edgies reporting in from wherever they are and on whatever they're doing, as the dog days wind out and the season comes to a close. As the world slowly returns to a "new normal" with enduring COVID restrictions in the midst of renewed vaccine freedoms, this year's collection is a testament to change (temporary and lasting), a consideration of loss (will travel ever be like it was?), and a celebration of questions (that still need answering). The hammock may be away until next year, but the memories remain. I spent the summer writing and revising the final section of a longish novel I started in 2019. It seems now as though I've been from 1946 to 2021 on my hands and knees. Various lockdowns have been a liberation from obligations and the luggage carousel, and I've never known such sweet and total focus for months on end. We have the luxury of living in the country--no shortage of big skies and moody walks. All our few breaks were in the UK--Scotland, the Lake District, the West country. Even in our remote part of the Lakes, I had to keep on writing--as in photo. The best novel I read this summer was Sandro Veronesi's The Hummingbird. Best non-fiction was Peter Godfrey Smith's Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mind. I gave time also to some wonderful novellas--perfect fictional form for you too-busy scientists. IAN MCEWAN is a novelist whose works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim. He is the recipient of the Man Booker Prize for Amsterdam (1998), the National Book Critics' Circle Fiction Award, and the Los Angeles Times Prize for Fiction for Atonement (2003). His most recent novel is Machines Like Me. In 2019, Časlav Brukner and myself were walking on a beach on Lamma Island, near Hong Kong, marvelling together at the astonishing strangeness of quantum phenomena. This summer, the conversation with Časlav has continued on another island, and quite an island: Lesbos, the northern Greek island near the Turkish coast. Lesbos is the place where lyrical poetry was born. Here lived Sappho and Alcaeus.

Technology Ethics in Action: Critical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives Artificial Intelligence

This special issue interrogates the meaning and impacts of "tech ethics": the embedding of ethics into digital technology research, development, use, and governance. In response to concerns about the social harms associated with digital technologies, many individuals and institutions have articulated the need for a greater emphasis on ethics in digital technology. Yet as more groups embrace the concept of ethics, critical discourses have emerged questioning whose ethics are being centered, whether "ethics" is the appropriate frame for improving technology, and what it means to develop "ethical" technology in practice. This interdisciplinary issue takes up these questions, interrogating the relationships among ethics, technology, and society in action. This special issue engages with the normative and contested notions of ethics itself, how ethics has been integrated with technology across domains, and potential paths forward to support more just and egalitarian technology. Rather than starting from philosophical theories, the authors in this issue orient their articles around the real-world discourses and impacts of tech ethics--i.e., tech ethics in action.

Challenges of Artificial Intelligence -- From Machine Learning and Computer Vision to Emotional Intelligence Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a part of everyday conversation and our lives. It is considered as the new electricity that is revolutionizing the world. AI is heavily invested in both industry and academy. However, there is also a lot of hype in the current AI debate. AI based on so-called deep learning has achieved impressive results in many problems, but its limits are already visible. AI has been under research since the 1940s, and the industry has seen many ups and downs due to over-expectations and related disappointments that have followed. The purpose of this book is to give a realistic picture of AI, its history, its potential and limitations. We believe that AI is a helper, not a ruler of humans. We begin by describing what AI is and how it has evolved over the decades. After fundamentals, we explain the importance of massive data for the current mainstream of artificial intelligence. The most common representations for AI, methods, and machine learning are covered. In addition, the main application areas are introduced. Computer vision has been central to the development of AI. The book provides a general introduction to computer vision, and includes an exposure to the results and applications of our own research. Emotions are central to human intelligence, but little use has been made in AI. We present the basics of emotional intelligence and our own research on the topic. We discuss super-intelligence that transcends human understanding, explaining why such achievement seems impossible on the basis of present knowledge,and how AI could be improved. Finally, a summary is made of the current state of AI and what to do in the future. In the appendix, we look at the development of AI education, especially from the perspective of contents at our own university.

Survey XII: What Is the Future of Ethical AI Design? – Imagining the Internet


Results released June 16, 2021 – Pew Research Center and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center asked experts where they thought efforts aimed at ethical artificial intelligence design would stand in the year 2030. Some 602 technology innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists responded to this specific question. The Question – Regarding the application of AI Ethics by 2030: In recent years, there have been scores of convenings and even more papers generated proposing ethical frameworks for the application of artificial intelligence (AI). They cover a host of issues including transparency, justice and fairness, privacy, freedom and human autonomy, beneficence and non-maleficence, freedom, trust, sustainability and dignity. Our questions here seek your predictions about the possibilities for such efforts. By 2030, will most of the AI systems being used by organizations of all sorts employ ethical principles focused primarily on the public ...

The Role of Social Movements, Coalitions, and Workers in Resisting Harmful Artificial Intelligence and Contributing to the Development of Responsible AI Artificial Intelligence

There is mounting public concern over the influence that AI based systems has in our society. Coalitions in all sectors are acting worldwide to resist hamful applications of AI. From indigenous people addressing the lack of reliable data, to smart city stakeholders, to students protesting the academic relationships with sex trafficker and MIT donor Jeffery Epstein, the questionable ethics and values of those heavily investing in and profiting from AI are under global scrutiny. There are biased, wrongful, and disturbing assumptions embedded in AI algorithms that could get locked in without intervention. Our best human judgment is needed to contain AI's harmful impact. Perhaps one of the greatest contributions of AI will be to make us ultimately understand how important human wisdom truly is in life on earth.

The State of AI Ethics Report (January 2021) Artificial Intelligence

The 3rd edition of the Montreal AI Ethics Institute's The State of AI Ethics captures the most relevant developments in AI Ethics since October 2020. It aims to help anyone, from machine learning experts to human rights activists and policymakers, quickly digest and understand the field's ever-changing developments. Through research and article summaries, as well as expert commentary, this report distills the research and reporting surrounding various domains related to the ethics of AI, including: algorithmic injustice, discrimination, ethical AI, labor impacts, misinformation, privacy, risk and security, social media, and more. In addition, The State of AI Ethics includes exclusive content written by world-class AI Ethics experts from universities, research institutes, consulting firms, and governments. Unique to this report is "The Abuse and Misogynoir Playbook," written by Dr. Katlyn Tuner (Research Scientist, Space Enabled Research Group, MIT), Dr. Danielle Wood (Assistant Professor, Program in Media Arts and Sciences; Assistant Professor, Aeronautics and Astronautics; Lead, Space Enabled Research Group, MIT) and Dr. Catherine D'Ignazio (Assistant Professor, Urban Science and Planning; Director, Data + Feminism Lab, MIT). The piece (and accompanying infographic), is a deep-dive into the historical and systematic silencing, erasure, and revision of Black women's contributions to knowledge and scholarship in the United Stations, and globally. Exposing and countering this Playbook has become increasingly important following the firing of AI Ethics expert Dr. Timnit Gebru (and several of her supporters) at Google. This report should be used not only as a point of reference and insight on the latest thinking in the field of AI Ethics, but should also be used as a tool for introspection as we aim to foster a more nuanced conversation regarding the impacts of AI on the world.

The AI Index 2021 Annual Report Artificial Intelligence

Welcome to the fourth edition of the AI Index Report. This year we significantly expanded the amount of data available in the report, worked with a broader set of external organizations to calibrate our data, and deepened our connections with the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI). The AI Index Report tracks, collates, distills, and visualizes data related to artificial intelligence. Its mission is to provide unbiased, rigorously vetted, and globally sourced data for policymakers, researchers, executives, journalists, and the general public to develop intuitions about the complex field of AI. The report aims to be the most credible and authoritative source for data and insights about AI in the world.

Patterns, predictions, and actions: A story about machine learning Machine Learning

This graduate textbook on machine learning tells a story of how patterns in data support predictions and consequential actions. Starting with the foundations of decision making, we cover representation, optimization, and generalization as the constituents of supervised learning. A chapter on datasets as benchmarks examines their histories and scientific bases. Self-contained introductions to causality, the practice of causal inference, sequential decision making, and reinforcement learning equip the reader with concepts and tools to reason about actions and their consequences. Throughout, the text discusses historical context and societal impact. We invite readers from all backgrounds; some experience with probability, calculus, and linear algebra suffices.

Google and UC Berkeley researchers create AI that can remove shadows from images


Researchers with the University of California Berkeley and Google Research have published a new paper detailing an AI that can remove unwanted shadows from images. The algorithm focuses on two different types of shadows -- ones from external objects and ones naturally resulting from facial features -- and works to either remove or soften them in order to maintain a natural appearance. Whereas professional images are often taken in a studio with proper lighting, the average snapshot of a person is taken'in the wild' where lighting conditions may be harsh, causing dark shadows that obscure parts of the subject's face while other parts are covered with excessive highlights. The newly developed AI is designed to address this problem by targeting those unwanted shadows and highlights, removing and softening them until a clearer subject remains. The researchers say their tool works in a'realistic and controllable way,' and it could prove useful for more than just images captured in casual settings.

GPT-3 Creative Fiction


What if I told a story here, how would that story start?" Thus, the summarization prompt: "My second grader asked me what this passage means: …" When a given prompt isn't working and GPT-3 keeps pivoting into other modes of completion, that may mean that one hasn't constrained it enough by imitating a correct output, and one needs to go further; writing the first few words or sentence of the target output may be necessary.