Deep learning: Why it's time for AI to get philosophical

Catherine Stinson is a bachelor's graduate of the Department of Computer Science and University College's Cognitive Science program. She completed her master's degree in Computer Science in 2002. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, at the University of Western Ontario. Her PhD the History & Philosophy of Science is from the University of Pittsburgh (2003).

In an op-ed written by Stinson for the Globe and Mail she argues those working in AI need to take their work’s social and ethical implications much more seriously.

She writes, "he New York Times recently reported that top computer-science schools such as MIT and Stanford are rushing to roll out ethics courses in response to a newfound awareness that the build-it-first, fix-it-later ethos isn’t cutting it. In fact, such courses have existed for a long time. The University of Toronto’s computer-science program has a computers and society course, which includes a few weeks of ethics."

She quotes Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies, Francois Pitt: "...he said the issue of ethics training had come up four or five times just that week. Steve Easterbrook, the professor in charge of the computers and society course, agrees that there needs to be more ethics training, noting that moral reasoning in computer-science students has been shown to be 'much less mature than students from most other disciplines.' Instead of one course on ethics, he says 'it ought to be infused across the curriculum, so that all students are continually exposed to it.'"

And "Vector Institute research director [Professor] Richard Zemel has a growing side project in algorithmic fairness and has been making connections with legal scholars and researchers from the University of Toronto’s Centre for Ethics. Another group is studying AI and safety. Prof. Zemel promises that bringing in social scientists, ethicists and policy analysts is something he is 'determined to do.'"

Read the full op-ed in the Globe & Mail

Also in the Globe and Mail on March 27:

Canada’s AI explosion: Visit three labs where machines are being taught to think like people
A report features the work of alumnus and cross-appointed Professor Brendan Frey (ECE). It also details the influence of University Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Hinton in mentoring some of the top minds in AI, including Frey and Associate Professor Raquel Urtasun.

University Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Hinton is also mentioned in a March 25 op-ed by Adam Kassam is the chief resident physician in the department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Western University in London, Ont. on how artificial intelligence can completely revolutionize Canadian health care.