Video, PodcastApril 26 2017

AI in the Open World: Directions, Challenges, and Futures

Eric Horvitz

Databite No. 98

Eric Horvitz breaks down societal and technological complications of using AI.



Artificial intelligence (AI) is at an inflection point and is poised to move into the open world and into our lives in many ways that will have numerous influences on people and society. While AI promises to provide great value, along with the aspirations come concerns about inadvertent costs, rough edges, and failures. Concerns include failures of automation in the open world, biased data and algorithms, opacity of reasoning, adversarial attacks on AI systems, and runaway AI.

Horvitz discusses short- and long-term challenges, as well as studies aimed at addressing concerns, including the One Hundred Year Study on AI at Stanford University and the Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society.

Eric Horvitz is a technical fellow and director at Microsoft Research. His interests span theoretical and practical challenges in AI and he has made contributions in machine learning, perception, decision making, and human-computer interaction. His efforts and collaborations have led to fielded applications and services in healthcare, transportation, information retrieval, e-commerce, and aerospace. He received the Feigenbaum Prize and the Allen Newell Award for his technical contributions in AI. He serves on the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CTSB) of the National Academy of Science and the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). He is the former president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and chair of the Section on Information, Computing and Communication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He has been elected fellow of the AAAI, National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the AAAS. He received PhD and MD degrees from Stanford University. More information and publications are available at

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Data & Society’s “Databites” speaker series presents timely conversations about the purpose and power of technology, bridging our interdisciplinary research with broader public conversations about the societal implications of data and automation.