Imagine diagnosing a hospital patient with septicemia 25 hours before the onset of sepsis shock, dispatching the right police officer to de-escalate a situation, or increasing agricultural productivity based on weather knowledge where few weather stations exist. These scenarios are not simply dreams, but thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) research are actually happening in the world today and are having a positive impact on societies across the globe.
Interest in artificial intelligence has been rapidly increasing in recent years, often with a focus on the flashy robot or computer that can speak responses, but the practical applications have a major societal impact and are often overlooked. AI has been successfully applied to societal challenge problems and it has a great potential to provide tremendous social good in the future. We are starting to hear more examples of successful deployments and the potential use of AI in various topics, such as urban computing, health, environmental sustainability, and public welfare, that are essential for social good.
The Artificial Intelligence for Social Good workshop, co-sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), and Computing Community Consortium (CCC) on June 7, 2016, focused on these societal applications and potential future impacts.
Eric Horvitz, Technical Fellow and Director at Microsoft Research, gave an inspiring keynote on the possibilities for AI in Support of People and Society. Lynn Overmann, Senior Policy Advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy gave an eye opening keynote on AI and Criminal Justice: Challenges and Opportunities. In addition, academic and industry researchers and Federal Agency Employees provided short talks on topics ranging from Surgical Critical Care in Military Hospitals to Mining Social Media for Public Health.
Interested in a broader look at the topic of computing and its impact on society? In May, the CCC hosted a symposium – Computing Research: Addressing National Priorities and Societal Needs. Stay tuned to the cccblog for in-depth pieces on that symposium as well.