Bei Wang Phillips, a Faculty at the SCI Institute and an Assistant Professor at the School of Computing, and Arul Mishra and Himanshu Mishra, both Professors of Marketing at the David Eccles School of Business applied for the competitive Deep Tech grant offered by the State of Utah’s Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education. They were awarded a 3-year grant of about $340,000 for developing courses/modules on AI ethics and fairness that would bring fair and equitable AI to the forefront of education.
The grant would help in developing interdisciplinary courses and modules on equitable AI systems, both at the graduate and undergraduate level, within the David Eccles School of Business and the School of Computing at the University of Utah. While the current curriculum trains students to use accurate AI systems, less attention has been paid to educating students on the benefits of AI systems that not just produce accurate but also equitable predictions that do not discriminate against any group.
The strength of AI systems is their ability to identify patterns in the existing data to make accurate predictions. This strength can become a weakness if AI systems learn to identify patterns from data that include historic human biases, such as gender, age, race, or income-based biases; in such cases, predictions can become inequitable. With the wider adoption of AI systems across businesses, it is important for businesses that AI systems are not just accurate but also equitable. The courses will be designed to help students understand the advantages of using equitable AI systems in real-world decisions.