Canada, France, UK join forces to explore societal implications of AI

The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), has launched a series of workshops examining the effects of AI on society, in partnership with the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The international AI & Society research workshops will consider the economic, ethical, policy, and legal implications of artificial intelligence on society.

“AI is being adopted around the world. It’s critical that we develop new ways to understand…the implications.”

The new workshops are set to take place from June 2019 to June 2020 across Canada, France, and the UK. They will build on international collaborations and bring together perspectives from the social sciences, humanities, law, engineering, and computer science, as well as policy, business, and civil society. The interdisciplinary groups will explore how AI will impact different populations and sectors.

“The strength of these workshops is their interdisciplinary, international, and cross-sectoral perspectives,” said Alan Bernstein, president and CEO of CIFAR. “AI is being adopted around the world. It’s critical that we develop new ways to understand what the implications are across populations, sectors, and disciplines.”

Administered and managed by CIFAR, with support from CNRS and UKRI, the workshops explore the global implications of AI on a range of topics, from future conflicts in the Arctic and societal trust in AI systems, to how AI may impact the practice of medicine. Each workshop will produce a non-technical publication with insights for policy-makers in the public and private sectors, as well as the general public.

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The eight workshops were carefully selected after a three-month adjudication process. Each workshop will receive up to $50,000 for a total combined commitment of $400,000 from all three organizations for this joint call. This comes directly after CIFAR recently announced the addition of new AI chair members and the creation of 13 new research programs.

This new initiative is the second stream of workshops realized through CIFAR’s AI & Society program, which was launched in 2017. The AI & Society program is a key pillar of the CIFAR Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, a $125 million investment from the Government of Canada with the goal of supporting Canada’s leadership in machine learning research and training.

Antoine Petit, chairman and CEO of CNRS said, “It is essential to strive to analyze and better understand the potential ethical, social, legal, or economic repercussions of artificial intelligence. The CNRS is happy to join forces with the CIFAR and UKRI to contribute to the reflection around these issues.”

“The potential of artificial intelligence is reaching all areas of society and business, so it is crucial that we give due consideration to the social and ethical implications of their greater use,” said UKRI chief executive and professor, Mark Walport. “The workshops announced today, in partnership with CIFAR and CNRS, will make an important contribution to exploring the impact of artificial intelligence, and generate insights that will inform policy, business, and the public.”

The full list of workshops and proposal teams is available here.

Feature image courtesy Unsplash

Caitlin Hotchkiss

Caitlin Hotchkiss

Content coordinator, social media smartypants, wordsmith, Human Workflow™. Exists primarily on coffee, cat pictures, German dance metal, and pro wrestling. I will fight for your right to the Oxford comma.