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Brown computer scientist aims to protect people in age of artificial intelligence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – As data-driven technologies transform the world and artificial intelligence raises questions about bias, privacy and transparency, Suresh Venkatasubramanian is offering his expertise to help create guardrails to ensure that technologies are developed and deployed responsibly.

“We need to protect the American people and make sure that technology is used in ways that reinforce our highest values,” said Venkatasubramanian, a professor of computer science and data science at Brown University.

On the heels of a recently concluded 15-month appointment as an advisor to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Venkatasubramanian returned to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Oct. 4, for the unveiling of “A Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights: Making Automated Systems Work for the American People,” during a ceremony at the White House.

Venkatasubramanian said the blueprint represents the culmination of 14 months of research and collaboration led by the Office of Science and Technology Policy with partners across the federal government, academia, civil society, the private sector and communities around the country. That collaboration informed the development of the first-ever national guidance focused on the use and deployment of automated technologies that have the potential to impact people’s rights, opportunities and access to services.

“As a nation, we’ve done this before with consumer privacy, and the Patient’s Bill of Rights, for example,” Venkatasubramanian said. “Civil rights and civil liberties are a sacred institution in our country… Every major country and blocs of countries in the world are thinking about what it takes to govern automated systems and account for bias, but the U.S. has not, so this is something that was a long time coming.”

Venkatasubramanian is a researcher and educator immersed in the development and impact of technology and artificial intelligence. The opportunity to advise nationally aligned not only with his expertise, but also his concerns about the ethical use of technology and bias embedded in the design of some AI tools, which can infuse past prejudice and perpetuate discrimination.

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