AI Magazine


Letter to the Editor: Research Priorities for Robust and Beneficial Artificial Intelligence: An Open Letter

AI Magazine

Artificial intelligence (AI) research has explored a variety of problems and approaches since its inception, but for the last 20 years or so has been focused on the problems surrounding the construction of intelligent agents — systems that perceive and act in some environment. In this context, "intelligence" is related to statistical and economic notions of rationality — colloquially, the ability to make good decisions, plans, or inferences. The adoption of probabilistic and decision-theoretic representations and statistical learning methods has led to a large degree of integration and cross-fertilization among AI, machine learning, statistics, control theory, neuroscience, and other fields. The establishment of shared theoretical frameworks, combined with the availability of data and processing power, has yielded remarkable successes in various component tasks such as speech recognition, image classification, autonomous vehicles, machine translation, legged locomotion, and question-answering systems. As capabilities in these areas and others cross the threshold from laboratory research to economically valuable technologies, a virtuous cycle takes hold whereby even small improvements in performance are worth large sums of money, prompting greater investments in research. There is now a broad consensus that AI research is progressing steadily, and that its impact on society is likely to increase. The potential benefits are huge, since everything that civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence; we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools AI may provide, but the eradication of disease and poverty are not unfathomable. Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls. The progress in AI research makes it timely to focus research not only on making AI more capable, but also on maximizing the societal benefit of AI. Such considerations motivated the AAAI 2008–09 Presidential Panel on Long-Term AI Futures and other projects on AI impacts, and constitute a significant expansion of the field of AI itself, which up to now has focused largely on techniques that are neutral with respect to purpose. We recommend expanded research aimed at ensuring that increasingly capable AI systems are robust and beneficial: our AI systems must do what we want them to do. The attached research priorities document [see page X] gives many examples of such research directions that can help maximize the societal benefit of AI. This research is by necessity interdisciplinary, because it involves both society and AI. It ranges from economics, law and philosophy to computer security, formal methods and, of course, various branches of AI itself. In summary, we believe that research on how to make AI systems robust and beneficial is both important and timely, and that there are concrete research directions that can be pursued today.


AI Conferences Calendar

AI Magazine

This page includes forthcoming AAAI sponsored conferences, conferences presented by AAAI Affiliates, and conferences held in cooperation with AAAI.


AAAI News

AI Magazine

Winter news from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence


Reports of the 2015 Workshops Held at the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

AI Magazine

The 2015 workshops at the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media were held on May 26 in Oxford, UK. The workshop program included seven workshops, including Auditing Algorithms From the Outside: Methods and Implications, Digital Placemaking: Augmenting Physical Places with Contextual Social Data, Modeling and Mining Temporal Interactions Religion on Social Media, Standards and Practices in Large-Scale Social Media Research, Wikipedia, a Social Pedia: Research Challenges and Opportunities, and The ICWSM Science Slam. This article contains the written reports of 5 of the workshops


The Automated Negotiating Agents Competition, 2010–2015

AI Magazine

The Automated Negotiating Agents Competition is an international event that, since 2010, has contributed to the evaluation and development of new techniques and benchmarks for improving the state-of-the-art in automated multi-issue negotiation. A key objective of the competition has been to analyze and search the design space of negotiating agents for agents that are able to operate effectively across a variety of domains. The competition is a valuable tool for studying important aspects of negotiation including profiles and domains, opponent learning, strategies, bilateral and multilateral protocols. Two of the challenges that remain are: How to develop argumentation-based negotiation agents that next to bids, can inform and argue to obtain an acceptable agreement for both parties, and how to create agents that can negotiate in a human fashion.


Research Priorities for Robust and Beneficial Artificial Intelligence

AI Magazine

Success in the quest for artificial intelligence has the potential to bring unprecedented benefits to humanity, and it is therefore worthwhile to investigate how to maximize these benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls. This article gives numerous examples (which should by no means be construed as an exhaustive list) of such worthwhile research aimed at ensuring that AI remains robust and beneficial.


DiversiNews: Surfacing Diversity in Online News

AI Magazine

For most events of at least moderate significance, there are likely tens, often hundreds or thousands of online articles reporting on it, each from a slightly different perspective. If we want to understand an event in depth, from multiple perspectives, we need to aggregate multiple sources and understand the relations between them. However, current news aggregators do not offer this kind of functionality. As a step towards a solution, we propose DiversiNews, a real-time news aggregation and exploration platfom whose main feature is a novel set of controls that allow users to contrast reports of a selected event based on topical emphases, sentiment differences and/or publisher geolocation. News events are presented in the form of a ranked list of articles pertaining to the event and an automatically generated summary. Both the ranking and the summary are interactive and respond in real time to user’s change of controls. We validated the concept and the user interface through user tests with positive results.


Cognition as a Service: An Industry Perspective

AI Magazine

Recent advances in cognitive computing componentry combined with other factors are leading to commercially viable cognitive systems. From chips to smart phones to public and private clouds, industrial strength “cognition as a service” is beginning to appear at all scales in business and society. Furthermore, in the age of zettabytes on the way to yottabytes, the designers, engineers, and managers of future smart systems will depend on cognition as a service. Cognition as a service can help unlock the mysteries of big data and ultimately boost the creativity and productivity of professionals and their teams, the productive output of industries and organizations, as well as the GDP (gross domestic product) of regions and nations. In this and the next decade, cognition as a service will allow us to re-image work practices, augmenting and scaling expertise to transform professions, industries, and regions.


What Do You Need to Know to Use a Search Engine? Why We Still Need to Teach Research Skills

AI Magazine

For the vast majority of queries (for example, navigation, simple fact lookup, and others), search engines do extremely well. Their ability to quickly provide answers to queries is a remarkable testament to the power of many of the fundamental methods of AI. They also highlight many of the issues that are common to sophisticated AI question-answering systems. It has become clear that people think of search programs in ways that are very different from traditional information sources. Rapid and ready-at-hand access, depth of processing, and the way they enable people to offload some ordinary memory tasks suggest that search engines have become more of a cognitive amplifier than a simple repository or front-end to the Internet. Like all sophisticated tools, people still need to learn how to use them. Although search engines are superb at finding and presenting information—up to and including extracting complex relations and making simple inferences—knowing how to frame questions and evaluate their results for accuracy and credibility remains an ongoing challenge. Some questions are still deep and complex, and still require knowledge on the part of the search user to work through to a successful answer. And the fact that the underlying information content, user interfaces, and capabilities are all in a continual state of change means that searchers need to continually update their knowledge of what these programs can (and cannot) do.


Extending the Diagnostic Capabilities of Artificial Intelligence-Based Instructional Systems

AI Magazine

Active problem solving has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to acquire complex skills. Whether one is learning a programming language by implementing a computer program, or learning calculus by solving problems, context sensitive feedback and guidance are crucial to keeping problem solving efforts fruitful and efficient. This article reviews AI-based algorithms that can diagnose student difficulties during active problem solving and serve as the basis for providing context-sensitive and individualized guidance. The article also describes the crucial role sensor based estimates of cognitive resources such as working memory capacity and attention can play in enhancing the diagnostic capabilities of intelligent instructional systems.