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Grand Challenges: Values-Centered Artificial Intelligence

Grant Type: Impact Award
Topics: Ethical, Fair, and Trustworthy Technology and Social Justice
Colleges Represented: CMNS, ARHU, INFO

Grand Challenges Grants Program


Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents tremendous opportunities for improving the lives of billions of people in areas including healthcare, education, transportation, and communication — to name just a few.  However, AI solutions that address societal problems in high-stakes settings cannot be developed in isolation.  These technologies need to be designed and evaluated within the contexts in which they will be deployed, and respect the human norms, values, and societal expectations that govern those contexts.

The goal of our initiative is to promote the development of AI in a way that is not only ethical, but that advances human well-being more generally.  The initiative will focus on development of the tools, theories, and practices needed to ensure that AI applications are transparent, fair and trustworthy, support human creativity, and facilitate privacy – in short, that they respect human values.

To accomplish this, the initiative will bring together under one roof a community of researchers in three main areas: (1) AI proper, to develop new technology that pushes the boundary of what is possible and is also responsive to relevant human concerns, (2) Philosophy, to develop formal tools for representing and reasoning substantively about values, and (3) Human-Computer Interaction, to better adapt AI systems to people.  

Beginning with use-cases in areas such as education, transportation, healthcare, communication, accessibility, teaming, and sensemaking, we will also collaborate with domain experts and stakeholders in these fields.

The initiative aims to have local, national, and international impact by working to change the practice of AI innovation from a technology-centered approach to a values-centered approach, combining top-down ethical considerations and bottom-up community insights.  This new approach is novel in the world and has the potential to transform the practice of AI globally.  

Principal Investigators:

PI: Hal Daumé III (CMNS), Professor, Computer Science

Vanessa Frías-Martínez (INFO), Associate Professor, Information Studies

John Horty (ARHU), Professor, Philosophy

Katie Shilton (INFO), Associate Professor, Information Studies


  • Army Research Lab (ARL)
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
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