Thematic Pillars

Efforts of the Partnership on AI will be organized around a set of thematic pillars. These areas of focus may evolve over time as we pursue activities and gather input and feedback.

1. Safety-Critical AI

Advances in AI have the potential to improve outcomes, enhance quality, and reduce costs in such safety-critical areas as healthcare and transportation. Effective and careful applications of pattern recognition, automated decision making, and robotic systems show promise for enhancing the quality of life and preventing thousands of needless deaths.

However, where AI tools are used to supplement or replace human decision-making, we must be sure that they are safe, trustworthy, and aligned with the ethics and preferences of people who are influenced by their actions.

We will pursue studies and best practices around the fielding of AI in safety-critical application areas.

2. Fair, Transparent, and Accountable AI

AI has the potential to provide societal value by recognizing patterns and drawing inferences from large amounts of data. Data can be harnessed to develop useful diagnostic systems and recommendation engines, and to support people in making breakthroughs in such areas as biomedicine, public health, safety, criminal justice, education, and sustainability.

While such results promise to provide great value, we need to be sensitive to the possibility that there are hidden assumptions and biases in data, and therefore in the systems built from that data. This can lead to actions and recommendations that replicate those biases, and suffer from serious blindspots.

Researchers, officials, and the public should be sensitive to these possibilities and we should seek to develop methods that detect and correct those errors and biases, not replicate them. We also need to work to develop systems that can explain the rationale for inferences.

We will pursue opportunities to develop best practices around the development and fielding of fair, explainable, and accountable AI systems.

3. Collaborations Between People and AI Systems

A promising area of AI is the design of systems that augment the perception, cognition, and problem-solving abilities of people. Examples include the use of AI technologies to help physicians make more timely and accurate diagnoses and assistance provided to drivers of cars to help them to avoid dangerous situations and crashes.

Opportunities for R&D and for the development of best practices on AI-human collaboration include methods that provide people with clarity about the understandings and confidence that AI systems have about situations, means for coordinating human and AI contributions to problem solving, and enabling AI systems to work with people to resolve uncertainties about human goals.

4. AI, Labor, and the Economy

AI advances will undoubtedly have multiple influences on the distribution of jobs and nature of work. While advances promise to inject great value into the economy, they can also be the source of disruptions as new kinds of work are created and other types of work become less needed due to automation.

Discussions are rising on the best approaches to minimizing potential disruptions, making sure that the fruits of AI advances are widely shared and competition and innovation is encouraged and not stifled. We seek to study and understand best paths forward, and play a role in this discussion.

5. Social and Societal Influences of AI

AI advances will touch people and society in numerous ways, including potential influences on privacy, democracy, criminal justice, and human rights. For example, while technologies that personalize information and that assist people with recommendations can provide people with valuable assistance, they could also inadvertently or deliberately manipulate people and influence opinions.

We seek to promote thoughtful collaboration and open dialogue about the potential subtle and salient influences of AI on people and society.

6. AI and Social Good

AI offers great potential for promoting the public good, for example in the realms of education, housing, public health, and sustainability. We see great value in collaborating with public and private organizations, including academia, scientific societies, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, and interested private citizens to promote discussions and catalyze efforts to address society’s most pressing challenges.

Some of these projects may address deep societal challenges and will be moonshots – ambitious big bets that could have far-reaching impacts. Others may be creative ideas that could quickly produce positive results by harnessing AI advances.

7. Special Initiatives

Beyond the specified thematic pillars, we also seek to convene and support projects that resonate with the tenets of our organization. We are particularly interested in supporting people and organizations that can benefit from the Partnership’s diverse range of stakeholders.

We are open-minded about the forms that these efforts will take.