Skip to main content

The Artificial Intelligence and Society Fellowship Program

Overview
The logo for The New York Academy of Sciences.

In response to the urgent need to incorporate ethical and humanistic principles into the development and application of artificial intelligence (AI), the New York Academy of Sciences offers a new AI and Society post-doctoral fellowship program, in partnership with Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

Merging technical AI research with perspectives from the social sciences and humanities, the goal of the program is the development of multidisciplinary scholars more holistically prepared to inform the future use of AI in society for the benefit of humankind.

Promising young researchers from disciplines spanning computer science, the social sciences, and the humanities will be recruited to participate in a curated research program. Fellows’ time will be divided between New York City, Arizona State University, and on-site internships, working alongside seasoned researchers who are well-versed in academia, industry, or policy work.

Program Requirements

To qualify, candidates must have a PhD in a relevant field such as computer science, artificial intelligence, psychology, philosophy, sociology, ethics, law (JD), or a related field. Strong research background and expertise in the field of AI and Society, including publications in leading academic journals, is recommended.

Arizona State University
The logo for The New York Academy of Sciences.

Applications are now closed.

2023 Fellows

2023 Fellows

Akuadasuo Ezenyilimba, PhD

2023 Fellow

Akuadasuo Ezenyilimba is a recent Human Systems Engineering PhD graduate. Her academic background consists of a Bachelor’s in Psychology, Master’s in Applied Psychology, and a Master’s in Human Systems Engineering, Her research interest include human computer interaction, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and TBI rehabilitation. She is looking forward to beginning her post doctoral work focused on Artificial Intelligence in Society with Arizona State University and the New York Academy of Sciences.

Nitin Verma, PhD

2023 Fellow

Nitin is an incoming Postdoctoral Research Scholar at Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society in collaboration with the New York Academy of Sciences. His doctoral dissertation research at the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin investigated the notion of public trust in video with the emergence of deepfake and allied generative-AI technologies. Nitin’s broader research interests include the interrelationship between society (individuals, platforms, governments, and other stakeholders) and AI, the role of the photographic record in shaping history, and in the deep connection between human curiosity and the continuing evolution of the scientific method.

Marjorie Xie, PhD

2023 Fellow

Dr. Marjorie Xie serves as an AI & Society fellow at the New York Academy of Sciences, joint with Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Marjorie’s work combines AI, mental health, and education. Her goals are: 1) Develop technology to enable social-emotional learning and to facilitate collaborative interpersonal relationships; 2) Develop systems for effective AI governance. As an AI researcher, engineer, and social entrepreneur, she hopes to collaborate with mental health professionals, educators, business leaders, and social media experts. Prior to serving as a fellow, Marjorie interned at Basis Research Institute, building AI tools for reasoning about collaborative intelligence in animals. Marjorie completed her Ph.D. in Neurobiology & Behavior at Columbia University, where she used AI tools to build interpretable models of neural systems in the brain. Before her PhD, she designed and completed an independent major in computational neuroscience at Princeton University, where she also pursued intensive studies in philosophy, literature, and history. Born in France and raised in Seattle, Washington by Chinese immigrants, she currently lives and serves as a resident fellow at the International House in New York City.

Upcoming Events
In-person Event
Sep 28, 2023
28  Sep

Ethical Implications in the Development of AI

An AI researcher poses for the camera.

Published November 21, 2023

By Nick Fetty

Betty Li Hou, a Ph.D. student in computer science at the New York University Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, presented her lecture “AI Alignment Through a Societal Lens” on November 9 at The New York Academy of Sciences.

Seminar attendees included the 2023 cohort of the Academy’s AI and Society post-doctoral fellowship program (a collaboration with Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society), who asked questions and engaged in a dialog throughout the talk. Hou’s hour-long presentation examined the ethical impacts that AI systems can have on societies, and how machine learning, philosophy, sociology, and law should all come together in the development of these systems.

“AI doesn’t exist independently from these other disciplines and so AI research in many ways needs to consider these dimensions, otherwise we’re only looking at one piece of the picture,” said Hou.

Hou’s research aims to capture the broader societal dynamics and issues surrounding the so-called ‘alignment problem,’ a term coined by author and researcher Brian Christian in his 2020 book of the same name. The alignment problem aims to ensure that AI systems pursue goals that match human values and interests, while trying to avoid unintended or undesirable outcomes.

Developing Ethical AI Systems

As values and interests vary across (and even within) countries and cultures, researchers are nonetheless struggling to develop ethical AI systems that transcend these differences and serve societies in a beneficial way. When there isn’t a clear guide for developing ethical AI systems, one of the key questions from Hou’s research becomes apparent: What values are implicitly/explicitly encoded in products?

“I think there are a lot of problems and risks that we need to sort through before extracting benefits from AI,” said Hou. “But I also see so many ways AI provides potential benefits, anything from helping with environmental issues to detecting harmful content online to helping businesses operate more efficiently. Even using AI for complex medical tasks like radiology.”

Social media content moderation is one area where AI algorithms have shown potential for serving society in a positive way. For example, on YouTube, 90% of videos that are reviewed are initially flagged by AI algorithms seeking to spot copyrighted material or other content that violates YouTube’s terms of service.

Hou, whose current work is also supported by a DeepMind Ph.D. Scholarship and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, previously served as a Hackworth Fellow at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics as an undergraduate studying computer science and engineering at Santa Clara University. She closed her recent lecture by reemphasizing the importance of interdisciplinary research and collaboration in the development of AI systems that adequately serve society going forward.

“Computer scientists need to look beyond their field when answering certain ethical and societal issues around AI,” Hou said. “Interdisciplinary collaboration is absolutely necessary.”

The New York Academy of Sciences Announces First Cohort of Post-Doctoral Fellows in Inaugural Artificial Intelligence and Society Fellowship Program with Arizona State University

Published August 17, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 14, 2023, New York, NY – Three post-doctoral scholars have been named as the first cohort of Fellows for the Artificial Intelligence and Society Fellowship program.

Launched by The New York Academy of Sciences and Arizona State University in April 2023, the fellowship was developed to address the unmet need for scholars who are trained across technical AI and social sciences and the humanities. This innovative training program will produce the next generation of scholars and public figures who are prepared to shape the future use of AI in ways that will advance the public good.

The Fellows are:

Nitin Verma, PhD, University of Texas at Austin, School of Information

Nitin studies the ethical, societal, and legal impacts of deepfakes and other generative AI technologies. His multidisciplinary research interests include misinformation, trust, human values, and human-computer interaction. He is a native of India, and attended the University of Delhi, graduating with a B.Sc. in electronic science.

Akuadasuo Ezenyilimba, PhD, Arizona State University (ASU), The Polytechnic School; Human Systems Engineering

As a National Science Foundation Research Trainee, Akuadasuo has worked on citizen-centered solutions for real-world problems. Currently, she is researching the relationship between human-computer interaction and traumatic brain injury, executive function, and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation.

Marjorie Xie, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center, Center for Theoretical Neuroscience

Marjorie’s work combines AI, mental health, and education. She interned at Basis Research Institute, building AI tools for reasoning about collaborative intelligence in animals. Marjorie completed her Ph.D. in Neurobiology & Behavior at Columbia University, where she used AI tools to build interpretable models of neural systems in the brain.

“AI now permeates every facet of our society,” said Nicholas Dirks, Ph.D., President and CEO, The New York Academy of Sciences. “The technology holds extraordinary promise. It is crucial that researchers have the training and capacity to bring an ethical perspective to its application, to ensure it is used for the betterment of society. That’s why our with partnership with Arizona State University, where much of the pioneering research in AI and society is being conducted, is so imperative.”

“ASU is very excited to join with The New York Academy of Sciences for this fellowship,” said David Guston, professor and founding director of ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, with which the post-docs will be affiliated. “Our goal is to create a powerhouse of trainees, mentors, ideas, and resources to develop the next generation of AI researchers poised to produce ethical, humanistic AI applications and promote these emerging technologies for the public interest” he added.

Beginning in August 2023, the promising young researchers will participate in a curated research program and professional development training at the Academy’s headquarters in New York City, Arizona State University, and on-site internships, with seasoned researchers from academia, industry, or public policy organizations.

About Arizona State University

Arizona State University, ranked the No. 1 “Most Innovative School” in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for eight years in succession, has forged the model for a New American University by operating on the principles that learning is a personal and original journey for each student; that they thrive on experience and that the process of discovery cannot be bound by traditional academic disciplines. Through innovation and a commitment to accessibility, ASU has drawn pioneering researchers to its faculty even as it expands opportunities for qualified students. As an extension of its commitment to assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves, ASU established the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, the world’s first comprehensive laboratory dedicated to the empowerment of our planet and its inhabitants so that all may thrive. It is designed to address the complex social, economic and scientific challenges spawned by the current and future threats from the degradation of our world’s systems. This platform lays the foundation to anticipate and respond to existing and emerging challenges and use innovation to purposefully shape and inform our future. It includes the College of Global Futures, home to four pioneering schools including the School for the Future of Innovation in Society that is dedicated to changing the world through responsible innovation. For more information, visit globalfutures.asu.edu.

Contact: Media@nyas.org
Desk: 1718-343-3937
Mobile call/text: 1917-679-6299

The New York Academy of Sciences Launches New Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Artificial Intelligence and Society with Arizona State University

In response to the urgent need to incorporate ethical and humanistic principles into the development and application of artificial intelligence (AI), The New York Academy of Sciences has partnered with Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society to launch an AI and Society post-doctoral fellowship program. Merging technical AI research with perspectives from the social sciences and humanities, the program’s goal is to develop a new generation of multidisciplinary scholars prepared to inform the future use of AI in society for the benefit of humankind.

“The New York Academy of Sciences is thrilled to launch this unique partnership with Arizona State University, where much of the pioneering research in this field is being conducted,” said Nicholas B. Dirks, President and CEO of The New York Academy of Sciences. “AI is transforming our society at lightning speed. It is essential, however, that we work to better understand the range and nature of AI’s impact and what we can do to anticipate, and then navigate, the many ethical, regulatory, and governance questions that we have only recently begun to comprehend and debate, even as we press forward with leveraging AI’s benefits,” he added.

“ASU is very excited to join with The New York Academy of Sciences for this fellowship,” said David Guston, professor and founding director of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. “Our goal is to create a powerhouse of trainees, mentors, ideas, and resources to develop the next generation of AI researchers poised to produce ethical, humanistic AI applications to promote science for the greater good” he added.

Beginning in September 2023, this program will recruit promising young researchers from disciplines spanning computer science, the social sciences, and the humanities to participate in a curated research program housed at the Academy. Fellows’ time will be shared between New York City, Arizona State University, and on-site internships, with seasoned researchers who are well-versed in academia, industry, or policy work.

To qualify, candidates must have a PhD in a relevant field such as computer science, artificial intelligence, psychology, philosophy, sociology, ethics, law (JD), or a related field. Strong research background and expertise in the field of AI and Society, including publications in leading academic journals, is recommended.

To learn more, click here.