Radical Reads

Dr. Fei-Fei Li on President Joe Biden’s AI Meeting

By Dr. Fei-Fei Li, Scientific Partner

Image: President Joe Biden hosts a meeting on AI, Tuesday, June 20, at The Fairmont hotel in San Francisco. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Stanford Computer Science Professor and Radical Ventures Scientific Partner, Dr. Fei-Fei Li, met with President Joe Biden and other key leaders from academia and the public sector in San Francisco to discuss AI’s development, challenges, and ideas for enhancing democracy and healthcare. She shares her key messages from the conversation this week.

My colleague Rob Reich and I, Co-Directors of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), share the belief that in order to ensure the US leads on AI responsibly and stewards AI’s integration into society, a moonshot mentality must be urgently applied to AI development.

AI has the potential to solve many unsolved problems ranging from curing cancer and discovering life-saving drugs to improving the healthcare delivery system.

However, there is an imbalance in the AI development ecosystem that threatens the basic science research needed for a moonshot mindset. The main reason for this imbalance is access to the vast amount of compute and data required to train these systems. As noted in Stanford’s 2023 AI Index, there were 32 significant industry-produced machine learning models in 2022 compared to just three produced by academia. Building state-of-the-art AI systems increasingly requires resources that industry actors inherently possess in greater amounts compared to nonprofits and academia. Addressing this imbalance at moonshot scale will require a significant public sector investment in AI, which will need to include the National AI Research Resource and national labs similar to CERN inside of the US.

Overall, it was an honour to engage in a thoughtful, nuanced and diverse conversation with President Joe Biden, as well as the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Dr. Arati Prabhakarm, and California Governor Gavin Newsom. It was also a pleasure to contribute to this dialogue alongside Khan Academy Founder Salman Khan, UC Berkeley’s Doudna Lab Founder Jennifer Doudna, Founder of the Algorithmic Justice League Dr. Joy Buolamwini, AI2 Founding CEO Oren Etzioni, Humane Tech Co-Founder Tristan Harris, Common Sense Founder and CEO Jim Steyer, and my colleague, Stanford Professor Rob Reich.

Dr. Fei-Fei Li has been working with policymakers nationally and locally to ensure the responsible use of technologies, including congressional testimony on the responsibility of AI in 2018, her service as a member of the California Future of Work Commission for the Governor of California in 2019 – 2020, and a member of the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force (NAIRR) for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2021-2022. Learn more and follow Dr. Fei-Fei Li.

AI News This Week

  • Watch: Why Geoffrey Hinton is worried about the future of AI  (University of Toronto)

    Geoffrey Hinton, known as the “Godfather of AI,” discusses the  need for responsible development of AI and what he views as some of the most promising opportunities for society arising from the technology. Included in the many examples he provides are improvements in healthcare, for example accessing more information from diagnostic tools such as CAT scans, and understanding volumes and dimensions of cancers. He also cites better weather predictions including early warnings for floods and earthquakes, and designing new nano materials such as inputs for more efficient solar panels. While acknowledging well known risks, he highlights opportunities for international collaboration to limit and control the technology’s development, and to research long term impacts on society.

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  • Meet the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers of 2023  (World Economic Forum)

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  • New technologies and jobs in Europe  (NBER)

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Radical Reads is edited by Leah Morris (Senior Director, Velocity Program, Radical Ventures).