Panel 1 : Who speaks for AI?
Wednesday - July 29th, 2015 @ 15:10hrs at Room LB2
- Maria Gini (Minnesota)
- Barbara Grosz (Harvard)
- Francesca Rossi (Padua)
- Stuart Russell (Berkeley)
- Manuela Veloso (CMU)
Chair: Michael Wooldridge (Oxford)
These are boom times for AI. Articles celebrating the success of AI research appear frequently in the international press. Millions of people every day routinely use AI-based systems that the founders of our field would hail as miraculous. And there is a palpable sense of excitement about impending applications of AI technologies. But while all this is cause for celebration, it could be argued that the discipline of AI is fragmented and largely uncoordinated – and that the entire AI community suffers as consequence. We have a bewildering array of different organisations at national and international level representing us (AAAI, IJCAI, ECCAI, PRICAI, KR, ...), and a byzantine collection of specialised conferences and journals, with very little coordination or communication between them. The results are obvious. Researchers in distinct sub-fields often work in silos, unaware of work that is going on in other sub-fields of AI, and the development of the field is hindered by endless fragmentation. Moreover, in the public arena, the lack of any authoritative voice for AI creates a vacuum, where ill-informed speculation about the potential of AI is rife, and attention- seeking claims in the popular press receive unwarranted attention, with nobody in a position to speak for the field, and give an authoritative, informed, and balanced response. In this panel, we want to discuss these issues, and how best we, as AI researchers, can address them.
The panelists are invited to present their views on this subject, and to constructively discuss how we, as the AI research community, can best move forward.
To motivate the discussion, some questions for the panel are as follows:
- Is it possible to de-fragment the AI community? For example, could NIPS and IJCAI ever be seen as companion events, or is the nature of our field such that fragmentation is inevitable?
- What kind of professional organisation would work best for the field of AI? (Member organisation a la AAAI, ACM, or other...?)
- What public activities should an AI professional association undertake (beyond the scientific mission of organising conferences etc)? Press releases on AI? Responding to ill-informed pronouncements about AI?
- What role should we as individual AI researchers, and our AI associations play in informing public opinion, for example about the future benefits or potential existential risks that AI presents?