Image: An AI-generated image of the Bovard Administration Building on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles, California. see more
Credit: (Image/Generated using the DALL-E 2 AI system)
USC President Carol Folt announces a new Center for Generative AI and Society to study the transformative impact of artificial intelligence on culture, education, media and society.
The new $10 million center will fund research, convene experts and expand the university’s national leadership with a particular focus on the ethical use and innovation of Generative AI.
“USC is uniquely positioned to understand and impact how this emerging technology is transforming the way we live, work and play,” said Folt. “Our 22 schools have long been leaders in areas such as creative arts, media, health, education, engineering and business. USC works in an interdisciplinary manner and will vigorously explore the intersection between ethics and the use and development of Generative AI.”
The center reinforces USC’s historical influence on computer science and its reputation for nurturing generations of engineers, entrepreneurs, scientists, and artists. The center’s opening comes amid excitement around generative AI technologies like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and DALL-E, one of which was launched with research and help from USC alumni.
Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize a variety of industries including cinema, gaming, journalism, education and even the next generation of drug therapies. The aim of the center is to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.
“The genie is out of the bottle and we’re not going back,” said Ishwar K. Puri, senior vice president of research and innovation. “Our students will use this technology and we need to teach them how to use it responsibly. We want to harness the power of AI for the common good.”
In addition, the center will include:
A core group of leaders and faculty from five USC schools: Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Rossier School of Education, School of Cinematic Arts, Iovine and Young Academy, and the Viterbi School of Engineering. Experts who will address cross-industry and cross-professional topics who will advance generative AI research and launch new educational programs. An area of influence that spans arts, media, education and beyond. Two co-directors. One is Holly Willis, professor and chair of the Media Arts + Practice Divisions at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. The other is Bill Swartout, computer science research professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and chief technology officer of the USC Viterbi Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT).
The center’s sphere of influence will span the arts, media, education and beyond, with the potential to impact business, healthcare, law, medicine, politics and science, said Ishwar K. Puri, senior vice president of research and innovation.
“We have a duty to develop solutions that are ethical and benefit society as a whole,” said Puri. “This is an exciting time for USC, and we look forward to working with our faculty and students to explore the possibilities of Generative AI.”
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Willow Bay, Dean of USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
“AI is poised to redefine how we communicate, create content, and think about our world and its truths. We must unite journalists, media makers, artists and storytellers to develop new investigative methods and technical tools that question the transformative power of AI and help realize its potential as a positive force.”
Elizabeth Daley, Dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts
“Our USC is incredibly privileged to be home to some of the world’s most creative minds, writers, filmmakers, game designers and theorists who have shaped so much of contemporary culture through visual expression, storytelling, game design and critical thinking. It would be wrong not to bring this incredible expertise to one of the most important issues of our time, emphasizing the power of creativity, imagination, inquiry and criticism.”
Pedro Noguera, Dean of the USC Rossier School of Education
“AI, like other technological breakthroughs, has the potential to transform education. However, we must ensure that their extraordinary potential is harnessed in a way that nurtures knowledge and creativity, rather than threatening or undermining the integrity of education. I believe this can be achieved if we are careful in our application.”
Thanassis Rikakis, Dean of Iovine and Young Academy
“The intersection of generative AI with human creativity and human learning holds great potential for USC’s Iovine and Young Academy and other institutions to enrich our existing education for students who enhance the human experience through the collaborative design of physical, digital, and social expand components. The Center delivers on the promise of shaping their worldview on the potential of technology.”
Yannis Yortsos, Dean of USC Viterbi School of Engineering
“Over the millennia, human ingenuity has advanced science and created new technologies that have dramatically improved the human condition. Today we are witnessing another transformative moment through computing technologies such as generative AI. The implementation requires innovative, courageous and socially responsible action. This new center will be the crucible for such thought and practical guidance.”
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