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The Penn State Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence (CSRAI) announced the results of its second seed funding competition.

Center for Socially Responsible AI awards seed funding to seven projects

Posted on January 28, 2022

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence (CSRAI) recently announced the results of its second seed funding competition, awarding more than $96,000 to advance seven interdisciplinary research projects that feature researchers from 11 colleges and institutes.

Each proposal was evaluated for its connection to the center’s mission, intellectual merit, and potential for securing external funding. Funding will support the formation of interdisciplinary research teams and early-stage projects that demonstrate strong potential to obtain external funding.

“The awarded projects not only expand the center’s portfolio of socially responsible AI projects, but also foster innovative collaborations across a number of disciplines, from civil engineering to psychiatry,” said S. Shyam Sundar, CSRAI director and James P. Jimirro Professor of Media Effects in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. “The eclectic projects include using AI to provide better health and educational opportunities to underrepresented minorities, designing more socially responsible AI for autonomous vehicles, examining risks associated with attributing magical qualities, and assigning moral decision-making to AI systems, among other ambitious ideas that will explore novel and important areas connected to the center’s mission.”

The seven projects selected for funding include:

  • “Automated Techniques for Educational Meta-Analyses to Improve Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of Educational Policy and Classroom Methods,” by Rebecca J. Passonneau, College of Engineering; and Brian Belland, College of Education.
  • “Modeling Transition Patterns of E-Cigarette and Cigarette Use in Youths to Inform E-Cigarette Regulatory Policies,” by Qiushi Chen, College of Engineering; Sunday Azagba, Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing; Guodong Liu, College of Medicine; and Paul Griffin, College of Engineering.
  • “The Most Magical AI on Earth? How Magical Discourses Normalize and Legitimate AI Systems,” by Kelley Cotter and Priya Kumar, College of Information Sciences and Technology.
  • “Promoting Algorithmic Fairness in Educational Technology,” by Ting-Hao (Kenneth) Huang, College of Information Sciences and Technology; and Roger Beaty, College of the Liberal Arts.
  • “Socially Responsible AI for Autonomous Vehicles,” by Xianbiao (XB) Hu, College of Engineering; Vikash Gayah, College of Engineering; Ilgin Guler, College of Engineering; David Norloff, Donald P. Bellisario College of Communication; Yiqi Zhang, College of Engineering; Min Ding, Smeal College of Business; Sandra Allain, College of Engineering and School of International Affairs; and Bin Li, College of Engineering.
  • “Study with Me: Self-Regulated Learning with Virtual Studying Environments and Personalized Study Companion,” by Syed Billah and Prasenjit Mitra, College of Information Sciences and Technology; and Marcela Borge, College of Education.
  • “‘You Do Your Own Dirty Work’: Addressing the Risks of Ethical Outsourcing to Artificial Intelligence,” by Daryl Cameron, College of the Liberal Arts and Rock Ethics Institute; and Martina Orlandi, Rock Ethics Institute and Schreyer Honors College.

The Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence, which launched in 2019, promotes high-impact, transformative AI research and development, while encouraging the consideration of social and ethical implications in all such efforts. It supports a broad range of activities from foundational research to the application of AI to all areas of human endeavor. More information can be found on the CSRAI website.


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