AI Bias: Weapon or Mistake?

Join SNS, economist Bill Janeway, and scientist and AI contrarian Gary Marcus for a conversation on how the deployment of machine learning without a critical eye is bound to fail us all.

Thursday, March 25, 2021
2-4pm PT • 5-7pm ET

Machine-learning systems are celebrated for their superhuman ability to win games like chess and Go and for their ability to recognize patterns in data. But in fact, these systems are no more than correlation engines, identifying statistical relationships in datasets and predicting outcomes based on those observed correlations.

As datasets grow larger, the potential to identify “false” correlations – with no causal significance – grows exponentially. The potential for abuse is all the greater when the data to be analyzed has been generated from systemically biased behavior. Then ML becomes “money laundering for bias,” as in systems used by parole boards or in sentencing decisions, says William H. Janeway.

This month, we’ll talk with Janeway, Warburg Pincus senior advisor and O’Reilly Media director, about the use of machine learning and how it fails when it comes to the most important game humans play: how to extract meaning from information, in humanity’s constant quest to negotiate the rules of engagement. And why we still need humans in the loop. Our second guest will be scientist, bestselling author, entrepreneur, NYU professor, and self-described AI contrarian Gary Marcus. Closing small Breakouts and social time will be included.

Bill Janeway | Senior Advisor, Warburg Pincus, & Director, O’Reilly Media

William H. Janeway has lived a double life of “theorist-practitioner,” according to the legendary economist Hyman Minsky, who first applied that term to him 25 years ago. In his role as “practitioner,” Bill Janeway has been an active growth equity investor for more than 40 years. He is a senior advisor and managing director of Warburg Pincus, where he has been responsible for building the IT investment practice, as well as a director of Magnet Systems and O’Reilly Media. As a “theorist,” he is an affiliated member of the Faculty of Economics of Cambridge University, a member of the board of directors of the Social Science Research Council and the Fields Institute for Research in the Mathematical Sciences, and of the Advisory Board of the Princeton Bendheim Center for Finance. He is a co-founder and member of the Governing Board of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) and a member of the Board of Managers of the Cambridge Endowment for Research in Finance (CERF). He is the author of Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy: Markets Speculation and the State (Cambridge University Press).

Gary Marcus | Scientist, Author, NYU Professor, & Entrepreneur

Gary Marcus, scientist, bestselling author, entrepreneur, and AI contrarian, was CEO and founder of the machine-learning startup Geometric Intelligence, recently acquired by Uber.

As a professor of Psychology and Neural Science at NYU, he has published extensively in fields ranging from human and animal behavior to neuroscience, genetics, and artificial intelligence, often in leading journals such as Science and Nature.

As a writer, Marcus contributes frequently to the The New Yorker and The New York Times, and is the author of four books, including The Algebraic Mind, Kluge: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind, and the New York Times bestseller Guitar Zero. He is also editor of the recent book The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World’s Leading Neuroscientists, featuring the 2014 Nobel Laureates May-Britt and Edvard Moser.

In November 201, Marcus invented the now-ubiquitous trolley problems for driverless cars (borrowed, mostly recently, by Barack Obama).

Introductory Talk “AI: The Next Wave” | SNS CEO Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson is the founding CEO of startup Pattern Computer Inc. and chair of the Future in Review (FiRe) conference which The Economist has named “the best technology conference in the world.” He is the chair of Strategic News Service and publisher of the weekly SNS Global Report on Technology and the Global Economy, read by Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Vint Cerf, Michael Dell, Craig Venter, Jeff Bezos, Bill Janeway, Paul Jacobs, Leroy Hood, and technology executives and investors worldwide.

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