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Although we are excited to have our fellows back on campus and working in Byerly Hall, Harvard Radcliffe Institute programs remain primarily virtual as we continue to monitor the coronavirus pandemic. See Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Updates.

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Decoding AI: The Science, Policies, Applications, and Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

Ai Conference Graphic Radcliffe 2021

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly permeating many facets of our lives, raising both hope and concern about possibilities for our future. AI is transforming domains as disparate as science, medicine, commerce, government, law, the military, and the arts, and in doing so, it is forcing us to grapple with practical, political, and philosophical questions about humans and the nature of human interaction. The Harvard Radcliffe Institute Science Symposium will examine AI, its impact, and its ethics by exploring current and potential applications of AI in a range of fields of inquiry, practice, and public policy as well as what AI is (and is not).


10–10:10 AM 

Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and chair of the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery

10:10–10:55 AM
Session 1: What Is AI? 

Fernanda Viégas, principal scientist, Google; Sally Starling Seaver Professor, Harvard Radcliffe Institute; Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Moderator: Edo Berger, codirector of the science program at Harvard Radcliffe Institute; professor of astronomy, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences 

10:55–11:15 AM

11:15 AM–12:30 PM
Session 2: AI Applications 

Alán Aspuru-Guzik, professor of chemistry and computer science, University of Toronto; Canada 150 Research Chair in Theoretical and Quantum Chemistry, Government of Canada; Canada CIFAR AI Chair, Vector Institute; cofounder, Zapata Computing; cofounder, Kebotix 

Suchi Saria, John C. Malone Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering

Pindar Van Arman, AI artist

Moderator: Tom Simonite, senior writer, WIRED

12:30–1:30 PM 

1:30–2:45 PM
Session 3: AI and People 

Ajay Agrawal, Geoffrey Taber Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and professor of strategic management, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Rana el Kaliouby, deputy CEO, Smart Eye; cofounder and former CEO, Affectiva

Daniela Rus, Andrew (1956) and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Moderator: Jonathan L. Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law and vice dean for library and information resources, Harvard Law School; director and faculty chair, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; professor of computer science, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; and professor, Harvard Kennedy School

2:45–3 PM 

3–4:15 PM
Session 4: AI Ethics and Policies 

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, associate justice, Supreme Court of California; Herman Phlager Visiting Professor, Stanford Law School

Kay Firth-Butterfield, head of artificial intelligence and machine learning; member of the executive committee, World Economic Forum

Mutale Nkonde, founding CEO, AI For the People; cofounder, Fawma; MA candidate in American studies, Columbia University

Moderator: Francine Berman, research professor and Stuart Rice Honorary Chair, College of Information and Computer Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst

4:15–4:20 PM 
Closing Remarks

Edo Berger, codirector of the science program, Harvard Radcliffe Institute; professor of astronomy, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences


Free and open to the public. To view this event online, individuals will need to register via Zoom.

For instructions on how to join, see the How to Attend a Radcliffe Event on Zoom webpage.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing a link and password for this meeting. Please use the link to (re)join the program throughout the day.

Live closed captioning will be available for this webinar.

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