From smartphones that order our morning coffee to the remote calibration of computers in the outer reaches of our galaxy, artificial intelligence (AI) pervades almost every aspect of our lives. York University, a comprehensive research-intensive institution, plays a vital role in the integration of AI into society.
“York is at the forefront in visual perception technologies, space exploration, robotics and manufacturing technologies, remote sensing, intelligent information systems and cognitive analytics,” says Robert Haché, vice-president, Research & Innovation, York University. “We are building on our unique niche alongside global intellectual leaders in the humanities, social sciences, health and law, who are laying new ground expounding the moral, ethical and legal implications of AI adoption.”
Today’s rapid evolution of technologies is often referred to as “the fourth industrial revolution.” At its heart is the development of independent decision-making capacity, or AI, that frees devices and sensors from dependence on human decision-making, explains Dr. Haché. “AI involves capacities ranging from visual and auditory perception, reading skill, the ability for accurate autonomous decision-making based on existing pre-acquired information, and the ability to continuously improve function as additional data and experience are acquired.”
AI has been predicted to be the most disruptive technology ever invented – a technology that, when fully adapted, will fundamentally transform our economic, social, legal and cultural environments, he says. “With York’s focus on equity, social justice and business and technological development, and its interdisciplinary approach to research spanning the scientific to the philosophical, our researchers are positioned to make a unique contribution to AI. They can also ensure AI’s equitable and moral adoption to maximize its benefits, while minimizing unintended consequences.”
In the coming years, York researchers will become leading intellectual voices in articulating how AI will affect culture, living, economics and identity.— Robert Haché Vice-president, Research & Innovation, York University
York is leading the development of visual perception technologies, working through the Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) program to provide global leadership in research, focusing on the intersection of computational and biological vision. The university is also the international leader in using 3D printing to develop autonomous technology for cleaning space debris, space robotics and space manufacturing. Other researchers are working at the cutting edge of autonomous robotics, remote sensing, localization, intelligent information systems and cognitive analytics.
“On the human side, scholars from across the humanities, social sciences, health and law are studying the moral, ethical and legal implications of AI adoption,” says Dr. Haché “They are looking into the effects on governments, labour markets, the legal system, personal and national security, human health and health systems. They are studying AI’s challenges to our sense of individual identity and collective humanity.
“In the coming years, York researchers will become leading intellectual voices in articulating how AI will affect culture, living, economics and identity. Our work will guide the adoption of AI in a manner that counters the prevalent tendencies of increasing disparities between rich and poor, haves and have nots, working to improve the human condition.”
As a home to a proud tradition of scholarship and the pursuit of discovery and innovation, York’s commitment to excellence brings together a rich diversity of perspectives with a strong sense of social responsibility that is making a difference to the world around us, he adds.
Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.