HKUST Joins Partnership on AI to Spearhead Ethical AI Development
Prof Pascale Fung (1st from right, 3rd row from front) HKUST’s representative in Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society, joined a 2-day forum in Berlin on October 23-24 to exchange with global experts on issues including AI safety, security, AI and labor and AI’s social and societal influences. (Photo credit: Yann LeCun and Eric Horvitz)
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has recently joined an international not-for-profit consortium – Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society (PAI) – to promote the development of ethical artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure safety, security, privacy, transparency and fairness of such technology in Asia. Founded by tech conglomerates including Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft, PAI admitted HKUST as the first Asian institution, along internationally-acclaimed academic institutions including The Oxford Internet Institute of the University of Oxford and the Center for Information Technology Policy of Princeton University, to join its prestigious league.
Welcoming the new partnership, HKUST President Prof Tony F Chan said, “AI is making advances in every aspect of our lives such as health and well-being, transportation and education. However, there are also pressing concerns over the technology’s safety, trustworthiness, fairness and transparency that need to be addressed. I am glad that on this inflection point, HKUST gets to play a role amongst some of the world’s most influential tech leaders.”
To put words into action, HKUST’s representative in this Partnership Prof Pascale Fung, a leading expert in the area of speech and language processing and a professor from the University’s Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, joined a 2-day forum in Berlin on 23 and 24 October to exchange with global experts on issues including AI safety, security, AI and labor and AI’s social and societal influences.
As PAI’s only Chinese member at the moment, Prof Fung proposed in the meeting the creation of an Asian alliance to promote the development of ethical AI in the region. With an ageing population and quick advance in technology, Asia – in particular China, South Korea and Japan, are a major pole of AI innovations. China in particular is becoming a superpower in AI with its vast user base and excellent engineering talent pool, including those trained at HKUST. Prof Fung suggested at the meeting that ethical principles need to be translated into practical guidelines that are sensitive to cultural and historical backgrounds of different countries, in order to promote the development of ethical AI in the global AI community.
PAI offers an open and inclusive platform for a wide range of organizations to develop and share best practices, advance public understanding as well as identify and foster aspirational efforts in the area of AI.
About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) (www.ust.hk) is a world-class research university focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science. HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. HKUST attained the highest proportion of internationally excellent research work in the Research Assessment Exercise 2014 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee, and is the world’s second in the latest QS’ Top 50 under 50 ranking. Its graduates were ranked 13th worldwide and top in Greater China in Global Employability University Survey 2016.
About Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society
The Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society (Partnership on AI) is a not-for-profit organization, founded by Amazon, Apple, Google/DeepMind, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft. Our goals are to study and formulate best practices on the development, testing, and fielding of AI technologies, advancing the public’s understanding of AI, to serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society and identify and foster aspirational efforts in AI for socially beneficial purposes. We actively designed the Partnership on AI to bring together a diverse range of voices from for-profit and non-profit, all of whom share our belief in the tenets and are committed to collaboration and open dialogue on the many opportunities and rising challenges around AI. For the full list of founding members and partners, go to https://www.partnershiponai.org/partners/.