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How to Study Machine Behavior

April 29, 2019

Machines powered by artificial intelligence (AI) increasingly mediate our social, cultural, economic and political interactions. Understanding the behavior of AI systems is essential to our ability to control their actions, reap their benefits, and minimize their harms.

Machine Behavior is a proposed new area of research that would study AI beyond computer science and engineering and see its impact on biology, economics, psychology, and other behavioral and social sciences.

In their new video, based on a research paper published in Nature on April 24, the authors argue that an interdisciplinary understanding “necessitates a broad scientific research agenda to study the  ‘machine behavior’ that incorporates and expands upon the discipline of computer science and includes insights from across the sciences. We first outline a set of questions that are fundamental to this emerging field and then explore the technical, legal, and institutional constraints on the study of machine behavior.”

MIT IDE lead Alex “Sandy” Pentland is a co-author of the paper along with his MIT CSAIL colleagues, Iyad Rahwan, Manuel Cebrian, Nick Obradovich, and Cynthia Breazeal. MIT also  collaborated with a diverse set of colleagues from the Max Planck Institutes, Stanford University, the University of California San Diego, and other educational institutions as well as from Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, to publish this paper calling for this new area of research aimed at understanding the behavior of AI systems and their potential.

Read more here and here.