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Engineering lab joins growing ethical AI partnership

Friday, November 9, 2018

A research group at Waterloo Engineering is the first Canadian academic member of a global organization dedicated to studying and formulating best practices on artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

The Vision and Image Processing (VIP) Lab in systems design engineering was announced yesterday as one of 10 new organizations in the Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society.

Logo of the VIP lab at Waterloo Engineering.Led by professors David Clausi, Paul Fieguth, Alexander Wong and John Zelek, the VIP lab is focused on pushing the boundaries of AI by tackling the key operational challenges surrounding its widespread adoption and enabling it to become empowering technology for everyone.

Two key areas of research in the lab involve scalable AI, and transparent and responsible AI.

The Partnership on AI was established in 2016 by a group of researchers representing six leading technology companies – Apple, Amazon, DeepMind and Google, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft.

Now boasting more than 80 members in 13 countries, it also seeks to advance the public’s understanding of AI and provide a platform for open collaboration between all those involved in, and affected by, the development and deployment of AI technologies.

'Technology is a series of decisions'

Its core beliefs include that AI research and development must be actively engaged with and accountable to a broad range of stakeholders, and a commitment to maximizing the benefits and addressing the potential challenges of AI technologies by working to protect the privacy and security of individuals.

Other new members include the American Psychological Association, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the New York Times and Samsung Electronics.

“Technology is a series of decisions made by humans, and by involving more viewpoints and perspectives in the AI debate we will be able to improve the quality of those decisions,” Terah Lyons, executive director of the partnership, said in a media release.

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