Leaders from Northwestern Mutual’s Data Science Institute
see many ways that artificial intelligence could position Milwaukee as a national leader in technology and research. During a roundtable discussion held Thursday, Marquette University president Michael Lovell,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee chancellor Mark Mone
and Don Vu,
Northwestern Mutual’s chief data officer, shared how the NMDSI partnership is propelling the region forward and how their respective organizations use AI. Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:
Northwestern Mutual wants to create a center of excellence dedicated to AI
“One of the things we would focus on is the ethics of AI,” said Vu. “This is where I think this partnership, with the unique variety of perspectives that we have in academia as well as in private institutes, gives us a competitive edge to address this critical area.”
Ethics in AI continues to be a central issue for experts in the field
“When I think about data information, there’s a lot of power in that. It’s very important to us as we think about the values of our institutions, that ethics is a huge piece,” said Lovell.
“With the explosion of AI that’s happening right now, there’s a lot of unregulated activity,” said Mone. “Absent oversite, absent regulatory pressures there’s all sorts of bias that can come in and there’s a lot of opportunity for us to impact the system that, if left unregulated, can really have bad outcomes. This is where I think we can be role models in establishing guidelines. How do you have checks and balances in the AI world?"
The use of AI in the academic realm is here to stay
“The concerns that people have about student use of AI…I think the voices trying to stop that are probably going to be about as successful as those who tried to stop the combustion engine or the industrial revolution or the internet. It’s here. It’s going to be there. So, the question is how do we take advantage of it,” said Mone. "Whether you realize it or not, generative AI is all around us. It’s happening all the time. What’s happening today in terms of the advances of and how quickly (AI technologies) are accelerating is truly transformational.”
Marquette uses AI to help students having difficulties
“We are able to use AI to ensure that they never get into academic crisis or financial crisis,” said Lovell. “We know six weeks into a semester if a student has more than one ‘F’ that we need to intervene in real time. That’s the advantage of having AI mixed into what we do.”
Milwaukee could get national grant funding to help catalyze AI research
“We believe we are positioned now to solve the biggest, large-scale research challenges that the country is facing today,” said Lovell. “As we do research in this space, we are as recognized as experts here in Milwaukee."