Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Benefits and Problems


With a standing-room-only crowd, Dr. Philip E Bourne, founding dean of the School of Data Science at UVA, shared an overview of “Artificial Intelligence – Good or Bad?” Dr. Bourne brings trailblazing experience from business (launched four companies), biomedical/data science  research (published 300+ papers and 5 books), academia (University of California-San Diego), and government (first Director of Data Science for the National Institutes of Health) to Senior Statesmen of Virginia and UVA! He also founded the group ‘Deans on Bikes.’

Dr. Bourne shared a primary question to start the discussion: How Disruptive will AI be? He traced the history of Artificial Intelligence, noting it first appeared in the 1970’s. He shared how the data that affects society has changed and grown. Dr. Bourne shared a graph with which we can view and track the AI innovation; on the vertical axis, we have Volume, Velocity and Variety. On the horizontal axis, we have the six stages of innovation: Digitization (did we know that data doubles every TWO years now?), Disruption, Demonetization, Dematerialization and Democratization (what happens when AI models, like quantum computing, reach human capacity? Will this happen?)

Dr. Bourne noted that UVA students accept AI for what it is and look at future growth and uses. For higher education, he suggested that learning modalities will change…. Robotics? Will a job market shift then happen? Will decisionmaking bias develop? Will privacy be eroded? How can we mitigate/eliminate misuse? Virtual reality — will it allow students from farflung geographic locations to ‘be in the same room.’

Many questions were asked and generated discussion and more questions. AI will continue to be a hot topic!

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