ACM SIGAI Industry Award for Excellence in Artificial Intelligence

The ACM SIGAI Industry Award for Excellence in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be given annually to individuals or teams who created AI applications in recent years in ways that demonstrate the power of AI techniques via a combination of the following features: novelty of application area, novelty and technical excellence of the approach, importance of AI techniques for the approach, and actual and predicted societal impact of the application. The award plaque is accompanied by a prize of $5,000 and will be awarded at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence through an agreement with the IJCAI Board of Trustees.

After decades of progress in the theory of AI, research and development, AI applications are now increasingly moving into the commercial sector. A great deal of pioneering application-level work is being done—from startups to large corporations—and this is influencing commerce and the broad public in a wide variety of ways. This award complements the numerous academic, best paper and related awards, in that it focuses on innovators of fielded AI applications, honoring those who are playing key roles in AI commercialization. The award honors these innovators and highlights their achievements (and thus also the benefit of AI techniques) to computing professionals and the public at large. The award committee will consider applications that are open source or proprietary and that may or may not involve hardware.

Evaluation criteria:
The criteria include the following, but there is no fixed weighting of them:

  • Novelty of application area
  • Novelty and technical excellence of the approach
  • Importance of AI techniques for the approach
  • Actual and predicted societal benefits of the fielded application

Eligibility criteria:
Any individual or team, worldwide, is eligible for the award.

Nomination procedure:
One nomination and three endorsements must be submitted. The nomination must identify the individual or team members, describe their fielded AI system, and explain how it addresses the award criteria. The nomination must be written by a member of ACM SIGAI. Two of the endorsements must be from members of ACM or ACM SIGAI. Anyone can join ACM SIGAI at any time for just US$11 (students) and US$25 (other) annual membership fee, even if they are not an ACM member.

Please submit the nomination and endorsements as a single PDF file in an email to SIGAIIndustryAward@ACM.org. We will acknowledge receipt of the nomination.

Timeline:

  • Nominations Due: March 1, 2019
  • Award Announcement: April 25, 2019
  • Award Presentation: August 10-16, 2019 at IJCAI in Macao (China)

Call for Proposals: Artificial Intelligence Activities Fund

ACM SIGAI invites funding proposals for artificial intelligence (AI) activities with a strong outreach component to either students, researchers, or practitioners not working on AI technologies or to the public in general.

The purpose of this call is to promote a better understanding of current AI technologies, including their strengths and limitations, as well as their promise for the future. Examples of fundable activities include (but are not limited to) AI technology exhibits or exhibitions, holding meetings with panels on AI technology (including on AI ethics) with expert speakers, creating podcasts or short films on AI technologies that are accessible to the public, and holding AI programming competitions. ACM SIGAI will look for evidence that the information presented by the activity will be of high quality, accurate, unbiased (for example, not influenced by company interests), and at the right level for the intended audience.

ACM SIGAI has set aside $10,000 to provide grants of up to $2,000 each, with priority given to a) proposals from ACM affiliated organizations other than conferences (such as ACM SIGAI chapter or ACM chapters), b) out-of-the-box ideas, c) new activities (rather than existing and recurring activities), d) activities with long-term impact, e) activities that reach many people, and f) activities co-funded by others. We prefer not to fund activities for which sufficient funding is already available from elsewhere or that result in profit for the organizers. Note that expert talks on AI technology can typically be arranged with financial support of the ACM Distinguished Speaker program (https://speakers.acm.org/) and then are not appropriate for funding via this call.

A proposal should contain the following information on at most 3 pages:

  • a description of the activity (including when and where it will be held);
  • a budget for the activity and the amount of funding requested, and whether other organizations have been or will be approached for funding (and, if so, for how much);
  • an explanation of how the activity fits this call (including whether it is new or recurring, which audience it will benefit, and how large the audience is);
  • a description of the organizers and other participants (such as speakers) involved in the activity (including their expertise and their affiliation with ACM SIGAI or ACM);
  • a description of what will happen to the surplus in case there is, unexpectedly, one; and
  • the name, affiliation, and contact details (including postal and email address, phone number, and URL) of the corresponding organizer.

Grantees are required to submit reports to ACM SIGAI following completion of their activities with details on how they utilized the funds and other information which might also be published in the ACM SIGAI newsletter “AI Matters.”

The deadline for submissions is 11:59pm on March 15, 2019 (UTC-12). Proposals should be submitted as pdf documents in any style at

https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=sigaiaaf2019.

The funding decisions of ACM SIGAI are final and cannot be appealed. Some funding earmarked for this call might not be awarded at the discretion of ACM SIGAI, for example, in case the number of high-quality proposals is not sufficiently large. In case of questions, please first check the ACM SIGAI blog for announcements and clarifications: https://sigai.acm.org/aimatters/blog/. Questions should be directed to Sven Koenig (skoenig@usc.edu).

ACM and ACM SIGAI

ACM brings together computing educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the field’s challenges. As the world’s largest computing society, ACM strengthens the profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM’s reach extends to every part of the globe, with more than half of its 100,000 members residing outside the U.S.  Its growing membership has led to Councils in Europe, India, and China, fostering networking opportunities that strengthen ties within and across countries and technical communities. Their actions enhance ACM’s ability to raise awareness of computing’s important technical, educational, and social issues around the world. See https://www.acm.org/ for more information.

ACM SIGAI brings together academic and industrial researchers, practitioners, software developers, end users, and students who are interested in AI. It promotes and supports the growth and application of AI principles and techniques throughout computing, sponsors or co-sponsors AI-related conferences, organizes the Career Network and Conference for early-stage AI researchers, sponsors recognized AI awards, supports AI journals, provides scholarships to its student members to attend conferences, and promotes AI education and publications through various forums and the ACM digital library. See https://sigai.acm.org/ for more information.

Sven Koenig, ACM SIGAI chair
Sanmay Das, ACM SIGAI vice-chair
Rosemary Paradis, ACM SIGAI secretary/treasurer
Michael Rovatsos, ACM SIGAI conference coordination officer
Nicholas Mattei, ACM SIGAI AI and society officer

Joint AAAI/ACM SIGAI Doctoral Dissertation Award

The Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM SIGAI) and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) are happy to announce that they have established the Joint AAAI/ACM SIGAI Doctoral Dissertation Award to recognize and encourage superior research and writing by doctoral candidates in artificial intelligence. This annual award is presented at the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence in the form of a certificate and is accompanied by the option to present the dissertation at the AAAI conference as well as to submit one 6-page summary for both the AAAI proceedings and the newsletter of ACM SIGAI. Up to two Honorable Mentions may also be awarded, also with the option to present their dissertations at the AAAI conference as well as submit one 6-page summary for both the AAAI proceedings and the newsletter of ACM SIGAI. The award will be presented for the first time at the AAAI conference in 2020 for dissertations that have been successfully defended (but not necessarily finalized) between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019. Nominations are welcome from any country, but only English language versions will be accepted. Only one nomination may be submitted per Ph.D. granting institution, including large universities. Dissertations will be reviewed for relevance to artificial intelligence, technical depth and significance of the research contribution, potential impact on theory and practice, and quality of presentation. The details of the nomination process will be announced in early 2019.

2018 ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest on Artificial Intelligence Technologies

After the success of our 2017 version of the contest we are happy to announce another round of the ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest on Artificial Intelligence Technologies!

Download a PDF of the call here: https://tinyurl.com/SIGAIEssay2018

Win one of several $500 monetary prizes or a Skype conversation with a leading AI researcher including Joanna Bryson, Murray Campbell, Eric Horvitz, Peter Norvig, Iyad Rahwan, Francesca Rossi, or Toby Walsh.

We have extended the deadline to February 15th, 2019, Anywhere on Earth Time Zone.  Please get your submissions in!!

Students interested in these topics should consider submitting to the 2019 Artificial Intelligence, Ethics, and Society Conference and/or Student Program — Deadline is in early November.  See the website for all the details.

2018 Topic

The ACM Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence (ACM SIGAI) supports the development and responsible application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. From intelligent assistants to self-driving cars, an increasing number of AI technologies now (or soon will) affect our lives. Examples include Google Duplex (Link) talking to humans, Drive.ai (Link) offering rides in US cities, chatbots advertising movies by impersonating people (Link), and AI systems making decisions about parole (Link) and foster care (Link). We interact with AI systems, whether we know it or not, every day.

Such interactions raise important questions. ACM SIGAI is in a unique position to shape the conversation around these and related issues and is thus interested in obtaining input from students worldwide to help shape the debate. We therefore invite all students to enter an essay in the 2018 ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest, to be published in the ACM SIGAI newsletter “AI Matters,” addressing one or both of the following topic areas (or any other question in this space that you feel is important) while providing supporting evidence:

  • What requirements, if any, should be imposed on AI systems and technology when interacting with humans who may or may not know that they are interacting with a machine?  For example, should they be required to disclose their identities? If so, how? See, for example, “Turing’s Red Flag” in CACM (Link).
  • What requirements, if any, should be imposed on AI systems and technology when making decisions that directly affect humans? For example, should they be required to make transparent decisions? If so, how?  See, for example, the IEEE’s summary discussion of Ethically Aligned Design (Link).

Each of the above topic areas raises further questions, including

  • Who is responsible for the training and maintenance of AI systems? See, for example, Google’s (Link), Microsoft’s (Link), and IBM’s (Link) AI Principles.
  • How do we educate ourselves and others about these issues and possible solutions? See, for example, new ways of teaching AI ethics (Link).
  • How do we handle the fact that different cultures see these problems differently?  See, for example, Joi Ito’s discussion in Wired (Link).
  • Which steps can governments, industries, or organizations (including ACM SIGAI) take to address these issues?  See, for example, the goals and outlines of the Partnership on AI (Link).

All sources must be cited. However, we are not interested in summaries of the opinions of others. Rather, we are interested in the informed opinions of the authors. Writing an essay on this topic requires some background knowledge. Possible starting points for acquiring such background knowledge are:

  • the revised ACM Code of Ethics (Link), especially Section 3.7, and a discussion of why the revision was necessary (Link),
  • IEEE’s Ethically Aligned Design (Link), and
  • the One Hundred Year Study on AI and Life in 2030 (Link).

ACM and ACM SIGAI

ACM brings together computing educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the field’s challenges. As the world’s largest computing society, ACM strengthens the profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM’s reach extends to every part of the globe, with more than half of its 100,000 members residing outside the U.S.  Its growing membership has led to Councils in Europe, India, and China, fostering networking opportunities that strengthen ties within and across countries and technical communities. Their actions enhance ACM’s ability to raise awareness of computing’s important technical, educational, and social issues around the world. See https://www.acm.org/ for more information.

ACM SIGAI brings together academic and industrial researchers, practitioners, software developers, end users, and students who are interested in AI. It promotes and supports the growth and application of AI principles and techniques throughout computing, sponsors or co-sponsors AI-related conferences, organizes the Career Network and Conference for early-stage AI researchers, sponsors recognized AI awards, supports AI journals, provides scholarships to its student members to attend conferences, and promotes AI education and publications through various forums and the ACM digital library. See https://sigai.acm.org/ for more information.

Format and Eligibility

The ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest is open to all ACM SIGAI student members at the time of submission.  (If you are a student but not an ACM SIGAI member, you can join ACM SIGAI before submission for just US$ 11 at https://goo.gl/6kifV9 by selecting Option 1, even if you are not an ACM member.) Essays can be authored by one or more ACM SIGAI student members but each ACM SIGAI student member can (co-)author only one essay.

All authors must be SIGAI members at the time of submission.  All submissions not meeting this requirement will not be reviewed.

Essays should be submitted as pdf documents of any style with at most 5,000 words via email to https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=acmsigai2018.

The deadline for submissions is January 10th, 2019.

We have extended the deadline to February 15th, 2019, Anywhere on Earth Time Zone.  Please get your submissions in!!

The authors certify with their submissions that they have followed the ACM publication policies on “Author Representations,” “Plagiarism” and “Criteria for Authorship” (http://www.acm.org/publications/policies/). They also certify with their submissions that they will transfer the copyright of winning essays to ACM.

Judges and Judging Criteria

Winning entries from last year’s essay contest can be found in recent issues of the ACM SIGAI newsletter “AI Matters,” specifically  Volume 3, Issue 3: http://sigai.acm.org/aimatters/3-3.html and  Volume 3, Issue 4: http://sigai.acm.org/aimatters/3-4.html.

Entries will be judged by the following panel of leading AI researchers and ACM SIGAI officers. Winning essays will be selected based on depth of insight, creativity, technical merit, and novelty of argument. All decisions by the judges are final.

    • Rediet Abebe, Cornell University
    • Emanuelle Burton, University of Illinois at Chicago
    • Sanmay Das, Washington University in St. Louis  
    • John P. Dickerson, University of Maryland
    • Virginia Dignum, Delft University of Technology
    • Tina Eliassi-Rad, Northeastern University
    • Judy Goldsmith, University of Kentucky
    • Amy Greenwald, Brown University
    • H. V. Jagadish, University of Michigan
    • Sven Koenig, University of Southern California  
    • Benjamin Kuipers, University of Michigan  
    • Nicholas Mattei, IBM Research
    • Alexandra Olteanu, Microsoft Research
    • Rosemary Paradis, Leidos
    • Kush Varshney, IBM Research
    • Roman Yampolskiy, University of Louisville
  • Yair Zick, National University of Singapore  

Prizes

All winning essays will be published in the ACM SIGAI newsletter “AI Matters.” ACM SIGAI provides five monetary awards of USD 500 each as well as 45-minute skype sessions with the following AI researchers:

    • Joanna Bryson, Reader (Assoc. Prof) in AI, University of Bath
    • Murray Campbell, Senior Manager, IBM Research AI
    • Eric Horvitz, Managing Director, Microsoft Research
    • Peter Norvig, Director of Research, Google
    • Iyad Rahwan, Associate Professor, MIT Media Lab and Head of Scalable Corp.
    • Francesca Rossi, AI and Ethics Global Lead, IBM Research AI
  • Toby Walsh, Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence, UNSW Sydney, Data61 and TU Berlin

One award is given per winning essay. Authors or teams of authors of winning essays will pick (in a pre-selected order) an available skype session or one of the monetary awards until all skype sessions and monetary awards have been claimed. ACM SIGAI reserves the right to substitute a skype session with a different AI researcher or a monetary award for a skype session in case an AI researcher becomes unexpectedly unavailable. Some prizes might not be awarded in case the number of high-quality submissions is smaller than the number of prizes.

Questions?

In case of questions, please first check the ACM SIGAI blog for announcements and clarifications: https://sigai.acm.org/aimatters/blog/. You can also contact the ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest Organizers at sigai@member.acm.org.

  • Nicholas Mattei (IBM Research) – ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest Organizer and AI and Society Officer

with involvement from

    • Sven Koenig (University of Southern California), ACM SIGAI Chair
    • Sanmay Das (Washington University in St. Louis), ACM SIGAI Vice Chair
    • Rosemary Paradis (Leidos), ACM SIGAI Secretary/Treasurer
    • Benjamin Kuipers (University of Michigan), ACM SIGAI Ethics Officer
  • Amy McGovern (University of Oklahoma), ACM SIGAI AI Matters Editor-in Chief

AI’s Role in Cancer Research

AI’s Role in Cancer Research

Guest Post by Anna Suarez

It’s no secret the general public has mixed views about artificial intelligence, largely stemming from a misunderstanding of the topic. In the public’s mind, AI tends to be equated to the creation of nearly lifelike robots and, although sometimes it is, there is much more to the rapidly-advancing technology.

In today’s society AI is playing an everyday role in the lives of most people, ranging from ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft to Facebook’s facial recognition, but the technology is constantly advancing. For example, Google’s new AI assistantis revolutionizing the way people go about their daily tasks, and recent advancements made possible by AI in healthcare are changing the way cancer research is approached.

Although the term “AI” dates back to the mid-1950s, it has become so sophisticated in recent years that a cure for cancer could be around the corner. Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative aims to find a cure for cancer and provide patients with more treatment options using AI technology to process and sort data from cancer researchers. In an attempt to reach its mission of driving 10 years’ worth of research in only five, AI is also being used to detect certain cancers earlier than what’s possible using other currently available diagnostic procedures.

The ability to diagnose certain cancers, including brain cancer, skin cancer and mesothelioma, through the use of this technology is, arguably, one of the most important advancements in healthcare as a result of AI. This is especially groundbreaking for patients battling mesothelioma, a rare cancer that develops in the mesotheliumof the lungs, heart or abdomen. Mesothelioma has a decades-long latency period and symptoms are often mistaken for those associated with more common ailments. Unfortunately, the disease has an average prognosis of 6-12 months and leaves patients with little time to coordinate treatment. Ultimately, the earlier detection and diagnosis of cancers may lead to better prognoses and outcomes.s

Using AI, the cloud and other tools, companies like IBM and Microsoft are attempting to change the way healthcare is approached. Following its creation in 2013, IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, successfully won $1 million in a game of Jeopardy!against two of the show’s most successful contestants, and is making attempts to streamline the process of diagnosing diseases in patients more efficiently.

Although IBM Watson hasn’t made as much progress as anticipated, the technology was proven capable during a 2017 study. The research monitored the amount of time it took Watson to create a treatment plan versus the amount of time it took doctors. The results showed that Watson was able to create a plan of treatment for a brain cancer patient in 10 minutes, while the process took between 160 hours for doctors.

However, the study wasn’t a complete win for Watson. Comparatively, Watson’s suggested plan of action was short sighted due to an inefficiency to consider multiple treatment options. While doctors were able to consider several possibilities at once, Watson could not.

Healthcare NExT, Microsoft’s internal initiative announced in 2017, is also focusing on using technology to find solutions to questions in the healthcare industry, including a cure for cancer.

In a Microsoft blog post about Healthcare NExT, Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft AI + Research says, Microsoft is “expanding [its] commitment to building a healthier future with new initiatives and solutions, making it easier for health industry partners and organizations to use intelligent technology to improve the lives of people around the world.”

Technology has changed dramatically within the past decade. Newly-developed diagnostic methods and an advanced approach to healthcare that we could have only dreamed of in the past are changing the way we see the world today. Although machines are still learning and there is a lot of room to improve, the work that’s been done in such a short period of time is nothing short of incredible.

Are we closer to a cure for cancer than even we know?

Resources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/zarastone/2017/11/07/everything-you-need-to-know-about-sophia-the-worlds-first-robot-citizen/#74e645b846fa

https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/8/17332070/google-assistant-makes-phone-call-demo-duplex-io-2018

https://www.maacenter.org/mesothelioma/

https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/diagnostics/ibm-watson-makes-treatment-plan-for-brain-cancer-patient-in-10-minutes-doctors-take-160-hours

https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2017/02/16/microsoft-partners-combine-cloud-ai-research-industry-expertise-focus-transforming-health-care/

ACM/SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award 2018: Craig Boutilier

The selection committee for the ACM/SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award is pleased to announce that Dr. Craig Boutilier, Principal Research Scientist at Google, is the recipient of the 2018 award. Over the years, Dr. Boutilier has made seminal contributions to research on decision-making under uncertainty, game theory, and computational social choice. He is a pioneer in applying decision-theoretic concepts in novel ways in a variety of domains including (single- and multi-agent) planning and reinforcement learning, preference elicitation, voting, matching, facility location, and recommender systems. His recent research continues to significantly influence the field of computational social choice through the novel computational and methodological tools he introduced and his focus on modeling realistic preferences. In addition to his reputation for outstanding research, Dr. Boutilier is also recognized as an exceptional teacher and mentor.

Artificial Intelligence Journal: FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES for PROMOTING AI RESEARCH

Artificial Intelligence Journal:
FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES for PROMOTING AI RESEARCH
Deadline for proposals: extended to January 20th, 2018

The Artificial Intelligence Journal (AIJ) is one of the longest established and most respected journals in AI, and since it was founded in 1970, it has published many of the key papers in the field. The operation of the Editorial Board is supported financially through an arrangement with AIJ’s publisher, Elsevier. Through this arrangement, the AIJ editorial board is able to make available substantial funds (of the order of 230,000 Euros per annum), to support the promotion and dissemination of AI research. Most of these funds are made available through a series of competitive open calls (the remaining part of the budget is reserved for sponsorship of studentships for the annual IJCAI conference).

The current call has a deadline of January 20th, 2018 and a budget of 120,000 Euros.

Proposals should be submitted following the format and content guidelines, as well as submission instructions, that can be found on the AIJ web site:

http://aij.ijcai.org/index.php/funding-opportunities-for-promoting-ai-research

(We posted this call at a time when the above website had not yet been updated but it will soon be, hopefully by the time when you are reading this blog post. In the meantime, you can click here for the details.)

Call for Nominations: ACM SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award 2018

Nominations are solicited for the 2018 ACM SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award. This award is made for excellence in research in the area of autonomous agents. It is intended to recognize researchers in autonomous agents whose current work is an important influence on the field. The award is an official ACM award, funded by an endowment created by ACM SIGAI from the proceeds of previous Autonomous Agents conferences. The recipient of the award will receive a monetary prize and a certificate, and will be invited to present a plenary talk at the AAMAS 2018 conference in Stockholm, Sweden.
Previous winners of the ACM SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award are: David Parkes (2017), Peter Stone (2016), Catherine Pelachaud (2015), Michael Wellman (2014), Jeff Rosenschein (2013), Moshe Tennenholtz (2012), Joe Halpern (2011), Jonathan Gratch and Stacy Marsella (2010), Manuela Veloso (2009), Yoav Shoham (2008), Sarit Kraus (2007), Michael Wooldridge (2006), Milind Tambe (2005), Makoto Yokoo (2004), Nicholas R. Jennings (2003), Katia Sycara (2002), and Tuomas Sandholm (2001). For more information on the award, see the Autonomous Agents Research Award page.
How to nominate
Anyone can make a nomination. Nominations should be made by email to the chair of the award committee, Jeff Rosenschein (jeff@cs.huji.ac.il), and should consist of a short (< 1 page) statement that emphasizes not only the research contributions that the individual has made that merit the award but also how the individual’s current work is an important influence on the field.
NOTE: a candidate can only be considered for the award if they are explicitly nominated. If you believe that someone deserves the award, then NOMINATE THEM — don’t assume that somebody else will!
Important dates
  • 17 January 2018 — Deadline for nominations
  • 7 February 2018 — Announcement of 2017 winner
  • 10-15 July 2018 — AAMAS-2018 conference in Stockholm

Winners of the ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest on the Responsible Use of AI Technologies

All the submissions have been reviewed, and we are happy to announce the winners of the ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest on the Responsible Use of AI Technologies. The winning essays argue, convincingly, why the proposed issues are pressing (that is, of current concern), why the issues concern AI technology, and what position or steps governments, industries or organizations (including ACM SIGAI) can take to address the issues or shape the discussion on them. These essays have been selected based on depth of insight, creativity, technical merit and novelty of argument.

The winners (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Jack Bandy, Automation Moderation: Finding symbiosis with anti-human technology
  • Joseph Blass. You, Me, or Us: Balancing Individuals’ and Societies’ Moral Needs and Desires in Autonomous Systems
  • Lukas Prediger, On Monitoring and Directing Progress in AI
  • Matthew Rahtz, Truth in the ‘Killer Robots’ Angle
  • Grace Su, Unemployment in the AI Age
  • Ilse Verdiesen, How do we ensure that we remain in control of our Autonomous Weapons?
  • Christian Wagner, Sexbots: The Ethical Ramifications of Social Robotics’ Dark Side
  • Dennis Wilson, The Ethics of Big Data and Psychographics

All winning essays will be published in the ACM SIGAI newsletter “AI Matters.” ACM SIGAI provides five monetary awards of USD 500 each as well as 45-minute skype sessions with the following AI researchers:

  • Murray Campbell, Senior Manager, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center
  • Eric Horvitz, Managing Director, Microsoft Research
  • Peter Norvig, Director of Research, Google
  • Stuart Russell, Professor, University of California at Berkeley
  • Michael Wooldridge, Head of the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford

Special thanks are in order to our panel of expert reviewers. Each essay was read and scored by three or more of the following AI experts:

  • Sanmay Das, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Judy Goldsmith, University of Kentucky
  • H. V. Jagadish, University of Michigan
  • Albert Jiang, Trinity University
  • Sven Koenig, University of Southern California
  • Benjamin Kuipers, University of Michigan
  • Nicholas Mattei, IBM Research
  • Alexandra Olteanu, IBM Research
  • Rosemary Paradis, Lockheed Martin
  • Francesca Rossi, IBM Research

We hope to run this contest again with a new topic in the future!

— Nicholas Mattei, IBM Research

ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest on the Responsible Use of AI Technologies

Update: The submission site for essays is https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=sigaiethics2017 – rather than submission by email. The submission deadline has been extended to March 31, 2017.

The ACM Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence (ACM SIGAI) supports the development and responsible application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. An increasing number of AI technologies now affect our lives (or soon will), from intelligent assistants to self driving cars. As a result, AI technologies are often in the news and a number of organizations (including the U.S. government) are trying to ensure that AI technologies are being used for the maximum benefit of society. As with all potentially transformative technologies (such as the automobile and the transistor), there is some uncertainty about exactly how the future will look like and how it should best be shaped to harness the power of AI technologies while avoiding any drawbacks or misuses. Googling “Artificial Intelligence,” for example, reveals a lot of interesting recent headlines and opinions about AI technologies. Here are some of them:

  • Facebook touts AI benefits as job risks loom
  • The pros and cons of using a robot as an investment adviser
  • Robots can kill and deliver beer. Do we need humans?
  • As Artificial Intelligence evolves, so does its criminal potential
  • Should your driverless car hit a pedestrian to save your life?

ACM SIGAI is in a unique position to shape the conversation around these and related issues. ACM SIGAI is interested in obtaining input from students worldwide to help shape this debate. We therefore invite all student members to enter an essay in the ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest, to be published in the ACM SIGAI newsletter “AI Matters,” answering the following questions while providing supporting evidence:

What do you see as the 1-2 most pressing ethical, social or regulatory issues with respect to AI technologies? What position or steps can governments, industries or organizations (including ACM SIGAI) take to address these issues or shape the discussions on them?

All sources must be cited but we are not interested in summaries of the opinions of others. Rather, we are interested in the informed opinions of the authors. Writing an essay on this topic requires some background knowledge. Possible starting points for acquiring such background knowledge are:

ACM and ACM SIGAI

ACM brings together computing educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the field’s challenges. As the world’s largest computing society, ACM strengthens the profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM’s reach extends to every part of the globe, with more than half of its 100,000 members residing outside the U.S.  Its growing membership has led to Councils in Europe, India, and China, fostering networking opportunities that strengthen ties within and across countries and technical communities. Their actions enhance ACM’s ability to raise awareness of computing’s important technical, educational, and social issues around the world. See https://www.acm.org/ for more information.

ACM SIGAI brings together academic and industrial researchers, practitioners, software developers, end users, and students who are interested in AI. It promotes and supports the growth and application of AI principles and techniques throughout computing, sponsors or co-sponsors AI-related conferences, organizes the Career Network and Conference for early-stage AI researchers, sponsors recognized AI awards, supports AI journals, provides scholarships to its student members to attend conferences, and promotes AI education and publications through various forums and the ACM digital library. See https://sigai.acm.org/ for more information.

Format and Eligibility

The ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest is open to all ACM SIGAI student members at the time of submission.  (If you are a student but not an ACM SIGAI member, you can join ACM SIGAI before submission for just USD 11 at https://goo.gl/6kifV9 by selecting Option 1, even if you are not an ACM member.) Essays can be authored by one or more ACM SIGAI student members but each ACM SIGAI student member can (co-)author only one essay. Essays should be submitted as pdf documents of any style with at most 5,000 words via EasyChair at https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=sigaiethics2017. The deadline for submissions is 11:59pm on March 1, 2017 (UTC-12). The authors certify with their submissions that they have followed the ACM publication policies on “Author Representations,” “Plagiarism” and “Criteria for Authorship” (http://www.acm.org/publications/policies/). They also certify with their submissions that they will transfer the copyright of winning essays to ACM.

Judges and Judging Criteria

Entries will be judged by a panel of leading AI researchers and ACM SIGAI officers. Winning essays should argue, convincingly, why the proposed issues are pressing (that is, of current concern), why the issues concern AI technology, and what position or steps governments, industries or organizations (including ACM SIGAI) can take to address the issues or shape the discussion on them. Winning essays will be selected based on depth of insight, creativity, technical merit and novelty of argument. All decisions by the judges are final.

Prizes

All winning essays will be published in the ACM SIGAI newsletter “AI Matters.” ACM SIGAI provides five monetary awards of USD 500 each as well as 45-minute skype sessions with the following AI researchers:

  • Murray Campbell (Senior Manager, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center) 
  • Eric Horvitz (Managing Director, Microsoft Research) 
  • Peter Norvig (Director of Research, Google) 
  • Stuart Russell (Professor, University of California at Berkeley) 
  • Michael Wooldridge (Head of the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford)

One award is given per winning essay. Authors or teams of authors of winning essays will pick (in a preselected random order) an available skype session or one of the monetary awards until all skype sessions and monetary awards have been claimed. ACM SIGAI reserves the right to substitute a skype session with a different AI researcher or a monetary award for a skype session in case an AI researcher becomes unexpectedly unavailable. Some prizes might not be awarded in case the number of high-quality submissions is smaller than the number of prizes.

Flyer

You can download this announcement in pdf format.

Questions?

In case of questions, please first check the ACM SIGAI blog for announcements and clarifications: https://sigai.acm.org/aimatters/blog/. You can also contact the ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest Organizers at sigai@member.acm.org.

  • Nicholas Mattei (IBM)
  • Albert Xin Jiang (Trinity University), ACM SIGAI Education Officer

ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest Organizers

with involvement from

  • Sven Koenig (University of Southern California), ACM SIGAI Chair
  • Sanmay Das (Washington University in St. Louis), ACM SIGAI Vice Chair
  • Rosemary Paradis (Leidos), ACM SIGAI Secretary/Treasurer
  • Eric Eaton (University of Pennsylvania), ACM SIGAI AI Matters Editor-in-Chief
  • Katherine Guo (Lockheed Martin), ACM SIGAI Membership Officer
  • Benjamin Kuipers (University of Michigan), ACM SIGAI Ethics Officer
  • Amy McGovern (University of Oklahoma), ACM SIGAI AI Matters Editor-in Chief
  • Larry Medsker (George Washington University), ACM SIGAI Public Policy Officer
  • Todd Neller (Gettysburg College), ACM SIGAI Education Officer
  • Plamen Petrov (IBM), ACM SIGAI Industry Liaison Officer
  • Michael Rovatsos (University of Edinburgh), ACM SIGAI Conference Officer
  • David Stork (Rambus Labs), ACM SIGAI Award Officer