Artificial intelligence is rapidly moving into everyday life, woven into our core social institutions like health care, employment, education, criminal justice and more. Yet the vast majority of AI technologies are being put in place with minimal oversight, few accountability mechanisms, and little research about their ongoing social and economic impacts. To harness AI’s power for good, we will need a much deeper understanding of its effects. It is this need that the AI Now Initiative aims to address.
Founded by Kate Crawford and Meredith Whittaker, the AI Now Initiative is an independent, interdisciplinary research initiative working to understand AI's social and economic implications. We do this by conducting empirical research across four key areas: bias and inclusion, labor change and automation, critical infrastructure and safety, and basic rights and liberties.
As AI systems are employed in criminal justice, law enforcement, housing, hiring, lending, and many other domains, they have the potential to impact basic rights and liberties in profound ways. AI Now is partnering with the ACLU and other stakeholders to better understand and address these impacts.
Automation and early AI systems are already changing the nature of employment, and the type of jobs and working conditions available across the world. AI Now works with social scientists, economists, labor organizers and others to better understand AI's impact on work, examining who benefits and who bears the cost of these rapid changes.
Data reflects the social and political conditions in which it is collected. AI is only able to "see" what is in the data it's given. This, along with many other factors, can lead to biased and unfair outcomes. AI Now researches and measures the nature of such bias, how bias is defined and by whom, and the impact of such bias on diverse populations.
As AI is introduced into our core infrastructures, like hospitals and power grids, the risks posed by errors and blindspots are very high. AI Now studies the way in which AI is being applied within these infrastructures, and works to develop approaches for safe and responsible AI integration and use.
Co-Founder, AI Now Initiative
Kate Crawford is a leading researcher, academic and author who studies the social impacts of large-scale data, machine learning and artificial intelligence. She is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research New York, a Visiting Professor at the MIT Media Lab and a Senior Research Fellow at NYU's Information Law Institute. In 2016, she co-chaired the first White House symposium on the social and economic implications of AI in the next decade. Her recent article in Nature outlines how the impacts of artificial intelligence can be studied using a social systems analysis, and she has also written about AI, ethics and discrimination for The New York Times and Harper’s Magazine. She is the co-founder of the AI Now Initiative, based in New York City.
Meredith Whittaker is the co-founder of the AI Now Initiative, and the founder and lead of Google’s Open Research Group, where she architected and created novel models for cross-industry and cross-sector research. In this capacity she founded M-Lab, a globally distributed open measurement system that provides the largest open, verifiable source of data on internet performance. In addition to expertise on measurement, she has done extensive work on privacy and security, both advising on policy and technical implementation. She co-founded Simply Secure, helped build and currently advises the Open Technology Fund, and is a leader in the development of core infrastructure security work within Google and beyond. She has advised the White House, the FCC, the City of New York, the European Parliament, and many civil society organizations on artificial intelligence, internet policy, measurement, privacy, and security.
We're new, but our work is underway. We would love to keep you involved and updated as we go.