The Effects Of AI - Stanford 100 Year Study
Written by Sue Gee   
Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Stanford University has announced a 100-year effort to study on the effects of artificial intelligence on every aspect of how people work, live, and play.

Professor Stephen Hawking recently expressed his concern about AI and it seems he not alone in having misgivings about the consequences of the increased sophistication of machine cognitive function.

Sebastian Thrun, well-known as leading the development of Google’s self-driving car is also feels threatened:

“My take is that A.I. is taking over. A few humans might still be in charge, but less and less so.” 

The study announced by Stanford is envisaged as a century-long study of the effects of artificial intelligence on society, including on the economy, war and crime. According to the university, the project is unusual not just because of its duration, but "because it seeks to track the effects of these technologies as they reshape the roles played by human beings in a broad range of endeavors".




With the title One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100), it is the brainchild of computer scientist and Stanford alumnus Eric Horvitz. In 2009, during his term as president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, he appointed a  panel of experts to consider advances in AI and its influences on people and society.

Now, together with Russ Altman, a professor of bioengineering and computer science at Stanford, Horvitz, a distinguished scientist and managing director at Microsoft Research, has formed a committee that will select a panel to begin a series of periodic studies on how AI will affect automation, national security, psychology, ethics, law, privacy, democracy and other issues.

In the white paper outlining the project  Eric Horvitz states:

My sense was that it would be valuable to create a long-term program of study on the influences of AI on people and society—one that provide a long gaze into the future and that would continue to leverage and extend a rich archive.  A program extending over a hundred years could provide an enduring platform for scholarship, observation, and proactive guidance.


AI100 is funded by a gift from Eric and Mary Horvitz. They envision that the program, with its century-long chain of standing committees, study panels and growing digital archive, will remain a center of vigilance as the future unfolds.

Horvitz turned to Stanford to host the study for a variety of reasons, including his own background, which involved studying computer science and medicine at Stanford. He said:

"I'm very optimistic about the future and see great value ahead for humanity with advances in systems that can perceive, learn and reason. However, it is difficult to anticipate all of the opportunities and issues, so we need to create an enduring process.

We’re excited about kicking off a hundred years of observation and thinking about the influences of artificial intelligence on people and society. It’s our hope that the study, with its extended memory and long gaze, will provide important insights and guidance over the next century and beyond.”




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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 December 2014 )