Date Posted: 2/18/2020

CS Professor and President-Elect of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), Bart Selman joined a panel at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) with Dan Lopresti and Yolanda Gil to discuss “A Twenty-Year Community Roadmap for Artificial Intelligence Research in the U.S.

Lopresti, a professor of computer science and engineering at Lehigh University, says: "[t]he question is what are we going to see over the next ten or twenty years break loose as a result of the research [in AI], which is assuming the research gets done because of investments made." Along with the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), Lopresti—the incoming Vice Chair of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Council—"spearheaded the creation" of "A Twenty-Year Community Roadmap for Artificial Intelligence Research in the U.S."

Bart Selman participated in "a panel with the authors of the Roadmap and leaders of the initiative that led to it, Yolanda Gil (University of Southern California and President of AAAI) and Bart Selman (Cornell University and President-Elect of AAAI), on Saturday, February 15th at the AAAS annual meeting in Seattle."

The AI Roadmap "lays out a case for the best use of resources to fulfill the promise of AI to benefit society." The report, over a hundred pages long, is introduced by an Executive Summary that states: "Achieving the full potential of AI technologies poses research challenges that require a radical transformation of the AI research enterprise, facilitated by significant and sustained investment."


Break Through Tech emerges as a national initiative, launched at Cornell Tech, to “accelerate gender equality in tech.”

"By 2026, estimates are that the U.S. will only be producing 17% of the graduates needed to meet the nation’s tech workforce needs. This is a national problem. While encouraging young girls’ interest in computer science and tech during their K-12 years is critically important work, the data shows that it’s not enough. We need to enable and empower women and other underrepresented groups in tech through their college years.

"Today, 58% of all college degrees are awarded to women. Yet less than 2% of these women are studying computer science and related tech disciplines. This represents an extraordinary opportunity and available talent pool that we need to activate in order to meet our growing workforce needs. Gender equality can’t wait."


In The New York Times, Cornell CS alumnus Sendhil Mullainathan cited “Discrimination in the Age of Algorithms,” a paper he cowrote with Tisch University Professor Jon Kleinberg and others.

Mullainathan writes: "Humans are inscrutable in a way that algorithms are not. Our explanations for our behavior are shifting and constructed after the fact. To measure racial discrimination by people, we must create controlled circumstances in the real world where only race differs. For an algorithm, we can create equally controlled just by feeding it the right data and observing its behavior. [...]

"Discrimination by algorithm can be more readily discovered and more easily fixed. In a 2018 paper with Cass Sunstein, Jon Kleinberg and Jens Ludwig, I took a cautiously optimistic perspective and argued that with proper regulation, algorithms can help to reduce discrimination.

"But the key phrase here is “proper regulation,” which we do not currently have.

"We must ensure all the necessary inputs to the algorithm, including the data used to test and create it, are carefully stored. Something quite similar is already required in financial markets, where copious records are preserved and reported, while preserving the commercial secrecy of the firms involved. We will need a well-funded regulatory agency with highly trained auditors to process this data.

"Algorithms and humans also differ on what can be done about bias once it is found.


CS Professor Carla Gomes is a principal investigator for a new, multi-year collaboration between the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability and The Nature Conservancy aimed at "establishing climate-ready fishing communities” in Alaska. Read about her work in the Cornell Chronicle in a piece by Mark A. B. Lawrence and Blaine Friedlander.

"More than 60% of the U.S. wild seafood production is in Alaskan waters, so the state has a high reliance on fisheries. Outcomes from this research will aid Alaska’s fishing communities in finding ways to adapt to changes in the ocean, such as assessing climate-driven fisheries risk, developing a framework for optimizing fishing rights and evaluating community fishing portfolios.

"Serving as the principal investigators on this project are Suresh Sethi, assistant professor of natural resources; and Adrianna Muir, director of conservation, TNC-Alaska. Co-PIs are Alex Flecker, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; Carla Gomes, professor of computing and information science; John Tobin, professor of practice of corporate sustainability in the Dyson School in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business; Kate Kauer, TNC associate director of the Oceans Program; and Rich Bell, lead scientist of the TNC Fisheries Program."