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Creepy computers or people partners? Working to make AI that enhances humanity

Creepy computers or people partners? Working to make AI that enhances humanity

Creepy computers or people partners? Working to make AI that enhances humanity

Driving Digital Innovation in AI is a series of stories about how Penn State’s Institute for CyberScience researchers are studying machine learning and AI to make these technologies more useful and effective, as well as investigating the impact of AI on people and society.

New technologies — from the stone age to the atomic age — tend to inspire hope and fear in equal measure.

Artificial intelligence is no different.

For some, artificial intelligence — AI — could herald a new age of personalized medicine, self-driving cars and a myriad of other applications that will make life better, smarter and more convenient. For other people, though, that eerie ability to do things formerly done only by humans makes AI a potential threat to both a sense of control and privacy.

For S. Shyam Sundar, James P. Jimirro Professor of Media Effects at Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications and an Institute for CyberScience (ICS) affiliate, the transformative potential of AI means we must carefully study how we adopt and integrate this technology into everyday life. Sundar, who is co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State, and his team of graduate researchers at the laboratory focus much of their attention on how technology can change humans personally and socially — and investigate ways to make sure that change is positive. The group has studied — and continue to study — a range of issues at the nexus of media, technology and human behavior, such as fake news, virtual healthcare assistants, the effects of technological personalization and human-robot interaction, to name a few.

Cooperative or creepy?

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