MIT scholars awarded seed grants to probe the social implications of generative AI

MIT president Sally Kornbluth and provost Cynthia Barnhart opened a call for papers that "articulate effective roadmaps, policy recommendations, and calls for action across the broad domain of generative AI" in July 2023. Twenty-seven papers submitted by faculty and researchers across all five of MIT's schools and the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing have been selected by a team of nineteen faculty members to receive exploratory funding.

A paper by, Regina Barzilay, AI faculty lead, MIT Jameel Clinic, was selected and she will collaborate with nine researchers on a project titled, 'Closing the execution gap in generative AI for chemicals and materials: freeways or safeguards'.

Two papers co-authored by Marzyeh Ghassemi, 2022 principal investigator at MIT Jameel Clinic, are also amongst the selections. Marzyeh will co-lead 'Generative AI in the era of alternative facts' and will collaborate with Fotini Christia, director of Sociotechnical Systems Research Centre and anAbdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) affiliate, on 'Advancing equality: harnessing generative AI to combat systemic racism.'

Cynthia Breazeal, the dean for digital learning at MIT and affiliate of the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) will also contribute to two of the selected projects. Cynthia will co-lead 'Generative AI and equitable AI pathway education' as well as \Generative AI and K-12 education'.

Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, says of the generative AI-focused seed grants, “Our goal with this call was to spearhead further exciting work for thinking about the implications of new AI technologies and how to best develop and use them. We also wanted to encourage new pathways for collaboration and information exchange across MIT.”

MIT News