All About Talent: Takeaways From MIT’s $1B Plan to Lead Way in A.I.

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than they should be.”

“I am hoping this new college will pull everything together in a cohesive manner,” he said. “I know plenty of people around MIT are hungry to re-establish the Institute’s leadership in this domain.”

3. Ethics are an increasingly important component of A.I. education.

MIT said the new college will emphasize training the creators of potentially powerful A.I. tools to shape them in an ethical and responsible way, with the possible human impact in mind. That hasn’t always been part of the educational strategy in A.I. programs, although MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and other universities have started to make it a stronger focus in the past couple of years.

“When I studied computer science, I never studied the ethical side of technology—no one did,” said Affectiva CEO and co-founder Rana el Kaliouby in an e-mailed statement. She was a post-doctoral researcher at MIT and previously studied at The American University in Cairo and the University of Cambridge in the U.K. in the 1990s and 2000s. “But today, I believe it’s crucial to take a holistic approach to A.I.—not just educating students on computing and engineering, but ethics, human rights, and the economic side of things as well.”

MIT’s new A.I. initiative comes at a crucial juncture for the industry, said el Kaliouby, whose startup develops A.I. software intended to help machines recognize human emotions and adapt their behavior accordingly.

“As A.I. takes on more roles in society—especially roles that were traditionally held by humans—we’re now forging a new social contract between humans and A.I., in which two-way trust is really critical,” el Kaliouby said.

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