This event is for people who live in New York City but it has some features, which are available to anyone anywhere with English language skills who wants to learn more about artificial intelligence (AI).
We Are AI is a five-week course run as a learning circle by Peer-to-Peer University (P2PU). The goal of the course, which kicks off on March 24, 2022 is to introduce the general public to the basics of artificial intelligence (AI), discuss some of the social and ethical dimensions of its use in modern life, and empower individuals to engage with how AI is used and governed. No math, programming skills, or existing understanding of AI are required!
The in-person We Are AI program is offered by the Center for Responsible AI (R/AI) in partnership with Queens Public Library, one of the New York City public library systems. It will be led by Julia Stoyanovich, professor of computer science and engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, professor of data science at the NYU Center for Data Science, and director of NYU R/AI; and Eric Corbett, a Smart Cities postdoctoral research associate at Tandon’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (NYU CUSP).
AI systems, whose decision making processes are invisible to the public, increasingly determine what we read, what we buy, the entertainment we are offered, where we work, what kinds of medical care we receive and more. For citizens to have any meaningful influence over how AI is used as a social tool, they must have some familiarity with how these technologies work, their flaws, and where they are deployed.
“Artificial intelligence is used to make high-stakes decisions that affect all of us,” said Stoyanovich. “But too few citizens are aware of the influence of AI in their lives — in fact many are not even aware of the existence of these systems. We partnered with Queens Public Library and P2PU to help citizens get informed, empowered and active in shaping the laws that can determine how these frameworks are used, and also to help us learn how to get even better at teaching these critical subjects.”
Those interested in participating in We are AI can register here
Embedded within the five modules (What is AI, Learning from Data, Who Lives Who Dies Who Decides, All About That Bias, and We Are AI) are a series of 10-minute videos exploring such topics as defining AI, learning from data,ethics in AI, and bias in AI. There is also an innovative, engaging comic book series designed to make this highly complex matter comprehensible to virtually anyone.
The course uses everyday imagery and lay-friendly language to offer a primer on such topics as:
Algorithms, and how machine learning systems make predictions about the world based on past experience encoded in the data
Classifiers and how to design them
Ethics in AI
Racism and gender bias in decision making AI used in delivering online ads and hiring
“AI continues to profoundly transform the world we live in and it is essential for the public to have a deeper understanding of this powerful tool and the challenges it brings,” said Sharon Myrie, Vice President of Programs and Services at Queens Public Library. “We are thrilled to partner with the New York University Tandon Center for Responsible AI and Peer 2 Peer University to launch this relevant program, helping our customers navigate various aspects of this new technology.”
The Center for Responsible AI (R/AI) has more information about the program on its We Are AI webpage,
Anyone can use this material to facilitate a learning group or educate themselves on the topic of AI. (No math, programming skills, or existing understanding of AI is required.)
This course is designed to be run as a learning circle: a facilitated study group for people who want to meet regularly and learn about a topic with others. There are no teachers or students in a learning circle—it is a group where everyone learns the material together. The learning circle’s facilitator decides the meeting schedule, keeps the group on task during meetings, and supports individual learners’ participation and goals. (Learn more about learning circle facilitation here.)
All of the materials, discussion prompts, and activities needed to run a group with minimal preparation are incorporated into this course. The flow of each meeting will vary but generally: participants will watch short instructional videos, discuss the subject matter, and complete short activities. There is no homework (only optional supplemental readings) so all work takes place during the meeting. Check each module for tips on facilitating specific material.
How wonderful that they have made the materials available to everyone.
*Blog posting title “The “We are AI” series gives citizens a primer on AI with” had the word ‘with’ removed on April 4, 2022.