July 1, 2015: Congratulations to UIC CS Assistant Professor Brian Ziebart on new grant from Future of Life Institute

UIC Assistant Professor of Computer Science Brian Ziebart has just been awarded one of the inaugural research grants from the Future of Life Institute.

The 3-year grant of $137,247 is for a project entitled ?Towards Safer Inductive Learning.? (Abstract below.)

The Future of Life Institute is a volunteer-run research organization working to mitigate existential risks to humanity, particularly those from Artificial Intelligence. Its Board of Advisers includes Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking.


?I don't know? is a safe and appropriate answer that people provide to many posed questions. To appropriately act in a variety of complex tasks, our artificial intelligence systems should incorporate similar levels of uncertainty. Instead, state-of-the-art statistical models and algorithms that enable computer systems to answer such questions based on previous experience often produce overly confident answers. Due to widely used modeling assumptions, this is particularly true when new questions come from situations that differ substantially from previous experience. In other words, exactly when human-level intelligence provides less certainty when generalizing from the known to the unknown, artificial intelligence tends to provide more. Rather than trying to engineer fixes to this phenomenon into existing methods, We propose a more pessimistic approach based on the question: ?What is the worst-case possible for predictive data that still matches with previous experiences (observations)?? We propose to analyze the theoretical benefits of this approach and demonstrate its applied benefits on prediction tasks.

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