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Dr. Fei-Fei Li: The Benevolent Scientist


July 25, 2019

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Fei-Fei Li, the internationally-celebrated scientist, has always been a champion of the positive power of artificial intelligence (A.I.).

At the new Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, which specializes in research and education on the potential uses of machine learning, Li's goal as co-director is to find ways in which A.I. can enhance people's lives.

"A.I. has come of age. It has migrated from a niche technical field to a major driving force of our future in our society," Li told "CNBC Meets: Defining Values."

"We see that in industry, we see that in the daily conversations. And here at Stanford, we recognize that there's a need for thought leadership for where A.I. is going tomorrow and how it can be guided to make the maximum positive impact for human society."

The idea for the new institute was born in 2016 as Li was standing on her driveway, talking to her neighbor John Etchemendy, Stanford's former provost and philosopher.

They discussed the lack of diversity in A.I. and how the field was narrowly focused on engineering and algorithm. They decided there needed to be a broader discussion about how tech could help everyone.

Now, the institute gathers researchers and academics from different departments — such as economics, business, political science and computer science — to tackle subjects like the impact of A.I. on jobs and how people can re-skill.


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