University of California Berkeley campus

AI and Humanity Research Cluster at UC Berkeley

Author Sally Storey
Date 23 May 2022

Later this year, ADM+S researchers Dr Jake Goldenfein (Melbourne Law School), Dr Christopher O’Neill (Monash University), Dr Thao Phan (Monash University), and Dr Kacper Sokol (RMIT University) will be Visiting Fellows at the University of California Berkeley’s Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing to participate in the Summer Cluster on AI and Humanity.

While ideas of “human-centered AI” have become fundamental to a new generation of academic research and industrial products in machine learning and AI, the summer cluster on AI and Humanity shifts the spotlight to the notion of the “human” as it is deployed in this new paradigm. The goal is to expose the various ways the “human” is imagined in these different expressions of “Humane AI”, and to understand their ethical and political stakes.

The Cluster is organised around three themes:

  1. Human-in-the-loop
  2. Human-AI (human-robot) complementarity
  3. Machine-readable (legible) humans

The Summer Research Cluster will bring together approximately 20- 25 researchers from around the world whose work addresses on these themes from law, humanities, social sciences, and computer science for a 6 week collaborative work period and a 3-day workshop.

“The Simons Institute is among the best computer science centres in the world and their programming offers researchers a unique opportunity to work in close contact with an interdisciplinary group of scholars studying related issues for extended periods,” said ADM+S Associate Investigator Dr Jake Goldenfein who co-organised the program.

ADM+S Research Fellows Dr Christopher O’Neill (Monash University), Dr Thao Phan (Monash University) and Dr Kacper Sokol will participate alongside Dr Goldenfein with support from the ADM+S Centre.

“The summer cluster is an amazing format to advance the cutting edge of human-compatible AI research. I’m really looking forward to learning from my colleagues and sharing my expertise in this diverse and interdisciplinary environment,” said Dr Sokol.

Dr Phan said she is “extremely excited to be sharing my expertise as a feminist science and technology studies and critical race and technology scholar with this diverse and interdisciplinary cohort of thinkers. I’ll be working on the “machine-readable humans” theme, developing a conceptual framework to examine how people, structures, and environments are made legible through AI-powered systems of recognition.”

Dr Christopher O’Neill said he feels very lucky for the opportunity to work with and learn from the remarkable group of researchers at the Simons Institute with his fellow ADM+S members. “I will be drawing upon my background in media history and theory to analyse the different ways that ‘the human’ has been figured within automated systems – analysing these differences will help us to better respond to the exigencies of contemporary automated decision making,” said Dr O’Neill.

For more information on the Cluster on AI and Humanity visit the Simons Institute website.