31 August, 2018

HKUST BDI jointly organizes “APRU-Google project workshop: AI4Every1” with Keio University

HKUST Big Data Institute (BDI) and Keio University jointly collaborated with the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) to organize “APRU-Google project workshop: AI4Every1” from 31 August to 1 September at HKUST, with a full house in attendance of Day 1 workshop.

The theme of this workshop is “AI for Everyone: Benefitting from and Building Trust in the Technology”. AI has the potentials for benefitting the human kind enormously, if governed adequately. It also has the potential to harm humanity catastrophically, if mismanaged. APRU, with its 11 university members from diverse range of political and cultural context, offers a unique position to provide a platform for open discussion.

More than 70 participants including project members as well as HKUST faculty and students attended the workshop in Day 1 to exchange insights with AI experts and scholars across the Pacific Rim on AI governance issues. The workshop participants actively explored and discussed how to establish trust in technology and amplify human intelligence on the use of AI to beneficial ends.

Professor Tim Cheng, Dean of Engineering of HKUST, Professor Jiro Kokuryo, Vice-President for International Collaboration of Keio University and Professor Toby Walsh, Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence of University of New South Wales Sydney kicked off the workshop on 31 August with inspiring welcoming remarks.

Professor Tim Cheng said in his remarks, “Everyone wants to get into AI these days. Undoubtedly, AI will change people’s life. It’s really glad to see so many experts from this project coming to HKUST to share with us the applications and impacts of AI to our society. At HKUST, we have Big Data Institute which is a huge platform for interdisciplinary faculty members to develop AI and big data technology, contributing innovative research breakthrough in AI fields.”

"In the welcome remarks by Professor Jiro Kokuryo, he said the project team members strive to think about building a bridge between technology and society. “The technology is changing very quickly, so people will probably need to be mindful and aware. Really thanks for the people who gathered here. Thanks HKUST for hosting this workshop. We will try very hard to continue organizing great research.”

Followed by the welcome remarks, Professor Toby Walsh highlighted some of the ethical challenges in our increasingly AI enabled world in his keynote speech titled “Ethical AI”. Professor Walsh drew out some important ethical lessons from a number of recent incidents happened worldwide which renowned global tech companies were involved. Stimulated by the keynote speech, Professor Pascale Fung, Director, Center for AI Research (CAiRE) of HKUST shared her insights on ethical and governance issues associated with AI development. She also facilitated the discussion with audiences, drawing lots of curious questions from the floor.

In the second session, Professor Yang Wang, Associate Director of BDI together with Professor Jiro Kokuryo and a number of project members talked about AI’s impact on Society. Professor Wang said, “I’m sure AI or Big Data will find its way to seep into our daily life. It could not have been more timely. HKUST has established the Big Data Institute in 2016. It has flourished in bringing faculty and students together for education, research and societal or industrial engagement. Being the co-Director of BDI, I’m very proud to say that all projects we do fall deeply into the “benefiting the society” category!”

In addition to the discussion on AI’s Impact on Society, key messages of the policy paper of this project and ideas for the future were also covered and introduced by a number of speakers, giving the audiences an overview about what is happening on AI development and governance.

The Day 1 workshop was concluded by a closing remarks delivered by Professor Dit-Yan Yeung, Acting Head & Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering of HKUST. He said, “We are very honored to host this event with Keio University and APRU. As a computer scientist working for AI for a long time, we endeavor to develop cool things and technology. Thinking innovatively is very important to the development of cutting-edge technologies like AI.”

In Day 2, a face-to-face meeting was held between the project members to present their final working papers with topics covering a broad spectrum of AI governance issues, including AI-ready education and black-box decision making, as well as issues such as criminal law, military robots, electoral systems. The findings together with policy recommendations is scheduled to be published by end of December 2018.