UC Newsroom: Artificial intelligence (AI) — machines or computer programs capable of learning and problem-solving to perform tasks that typically require humans — can make people and organizations more efficient. At the same time, these technological advances can prompt serious concerns around privacy, equity and safety.
In response to this societal challenge, the University of California formed a Presidential Working Group on Artificial Intelligence in early 2020 that brings together leading campus experts to determine how UC can harness the significant benefits offered by AI while ensuring its responsible use.
“AI can help UC operate better in many ways such as reducing biases inherent in human decision-making, strengthening cybersecurity and improving the quality of health care,” said Stuart Russell, professor of computer science at UC Berkeley, co-chair of the working group and a world-renowned expert on the development and ethical deployment of artificial intelligence. “The work of this panel places UC at the forefront of developing principles and standards for the ethical use of AI in a university setting.”
Forms of AI, such as machine learning and predictive modeling, have been used for decades to help people streamline their work by automating time-consuming or complex tasks. Today, AI is used for everything from financial fraud detection to identifying terrorism suspects. When used correctly, it has shown promise in uncovering unconscious bias in the selection of job applicants, or in improving health care outcomes by more thoroughly and rapidly processing patient health metrics, data and images.
Areas where AI can most benefit UC operations include health, human resources, campus safety and student experiences, such as admissions and grading. If not thoughtfully implemented and monitored, AI can have unintended consequences such as reinforcing human biases, misidentifying an individual through facial recognition, inadvertently revealing private information or failing to accurately diagnose a patient’s symptoms.