There is so much buzz about artificial intelligence, but what’s real and what’s fiction?

In this hands-on session about AI’s effects on science and society, Harvard researcher and artist Sarah Newman helped us explore scholarly and practical AI questions big and small, and led participants through activities to help us visualize our ideas for answering those questions. She helped us think more creatively about these issues by guiding us through design exercises using unexpected materials. This was also be an opportunity for attendees to think through ongoing research ideas and explore the implications, positive and negative, of AI technologies.

This event was intended for researchers and scholars, artists, policy makers, and educators from diverse fields and perspectives (from the highly technical to the not-at-all technical), both from UT and outside campus. We welcomed those from the social sciences, public policy, public entities, industry, data curation, engineering, fine arts, health sciences, and computer science. Attendees came together to engage, create, and surface new insights.

During this workshop, participants:

  • Think creatively about the spectrum of implications of AI;
  • Explore how AI might be incorporated into projects in order to design “Good Systems”;
  • Develop physical, creative prototypes for implementing AI;
  • Learn a novel, out-of-the-box team-brainstorming method;
  • Refine research projects or conceive new ones involving ethical uses of AI technologies and data.

This is adapted from the popular 2019 SXSW interactive workshop, AI and Shiny Objects, and is brought to you by the Ethical Data Design team from UT’s Good Systems grand challenge.