Consider This … Artificial Intelligence

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Tuesday, Dec. 4 | 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Friday Conference Center, 100 Friday Center Drive, Chapel Hill
Free and open to the public

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As machines start learning more, and do more, their impact and influence will continue to grow. How is this technology showing up in our lives? Is this growing knowledge and influence something to embrace or to approach with caution? What happens to economies when new technologies emerge and begin to disrupt the old ways? Are there laws to regulate this rapidly developing technology and what ethical issues should be considered when looking at these issues?

Join us at this complimentary Consider This … Forum for a discussion on these issues and the growing influence of artificial intelligence and machine learning. It’s not just the technology that’s changing but the impact on our economies, the future of jobs and how governments and companies regulate and govern. We’ll examine different issues associated with this topic and provide different perspectives from those you have already heard.

Panelists include: Mohit Bansal, Peter Coclanis, Daniel Kokotajlo and Jonas Monast; Moderated by Max Owre. Read each of their full bios below.

Max Owre, Moderator

Max Owre started working with Carolina Public Humanities (CPH) in 2009 when it was still the “Program in the Humanities and Human Values.” He served as associate director (2010-13) and interim director (2013-14) before assuming the position of executive director in July 2014. A graduate of the University of Vermont, he obtained his PhD in modern European history from UNC in 2008. Max is a lecturer in the history department, teaching courses in European, world and colonial history since 2007. He is a principal organizer and frequent host and moderator of CPH Events. He also lectures frequently for CPH on various topics in French and European history.

Mohit Bansal

Dr. Mohit Bansal is an assistant professor and director of the UNC-NLP Lab in the computer science department at UNC. Prior to this, he was a research assistant professor (three-year endowed position) at TTI-Chicago. He received his PhD from UC Berkeley in 2013 (where he was advised by Dan Klein) and his BTech from IIT Kanpur in 2008. His research expertise is in statistical natural language processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence, with a particular focus on multimodal, grounded and embodied semantics (i.e. language with vision and speech, for robotics), human-like language generation and Q&A/dialogue and interpretable and generalizable deep learning. He is a recipient of the 2018 ARO Young Investigator Award (YIP), 2017 DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA), 2017 ACL Outstanding Paper Award, 2014 ACL Best Paper Award Honorable Mention, 2018 COLING Area Chair Favorites Paper Award and several faculty awards from Google (2016, 2014), Facebook (2018, 2017), IBM (2018, 2014), Adobe (2018) and Bloomberg (2016). Learn more.

Peter Coclanis

Peter A. Coclanis is Albert R. Newsome Distinguished Professor of History and director of the Global Research Institute at UNC. He is also an adjunct professor in economics and a faculty affiliate in both the department of Asian Studies and the curriculum in Peace, War and Defense. He was formerly chair of the history department and between 2002 and 2009 served as UNC’s first associate provost for international affairs. Coclanis was born in Chicago in 1952 and took his PhD at Columbia University in 1984, joining the faculty at UNC that same year. He works in the fields of American, international and Southeast Asian economic, demographic and business history, and has published widely in these areas. He is the author or editor of eleven books, roughly 350 articles, chapters and essays, and about 200 book reviews. He is currently completing another book, entitled “Distant Thunder: The Creation of a World Market in Rice and the Transformations It Wrought.” He has participated in many GAA programs over the years, including four GAA travel programs.

Daniel Koktajlo

Daniel Kokotajlo is a fourth year PhD student at UNC, in the philosophy department. His research is in formal epistemology and decision theory, which are the fields that attempt to use math to figure out what we should believe and how we should behave. His past work has been largely in anthropics, which is the study of how probabilities should work in tough cases involving observation selection effects. He is currently working more on decision theory and he co-authored a paper on the need for a new kind of decision theory aimed at guiding AI design and AI safety research. His dissertation attempts to tackle the question of how a superintelligent Artificial Intelligence would behave – obviously the answer is “it depends” but on what does it depend? Perhaps it depends more on what decision theory it uses than on what goals or values it has. Outside academia, Daniel has worked as a freelance writer for the Centre for Effective Altruism and currently works part-time for AI Impacts, a think tank that tries to make more accurate predictions about when various AI milestones will be reached and what will happen afterwards.

Jonas Monast

Jonas Monast is the inaugural C. Boyden Gray Distinguished Fellow at Carolina Law and directs the Center on Climate, Energy, Environment and Economics (CE3). Monast’s work focuses on addressing climate change, aligning energy and environmental policy goals, and interactions between emerging technologies and environmental law. Prior to joining the Carolina Law faculty, he directed the Climate and Energy Program at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and taught courses on energy and environmental issues at Duke University’s School of Law and Nicholas School of the Environment. Monast has also worked as an attorney in the Corporate Social Responsibility Practice at Foley Hoag LLP, as a congressional fellow for the late Senator Paul Wellstone, and as legislative counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending. Monast earned his law degree from Georgetown University and his B.A. from Appalachian State University.

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