UF-NSF workshop examines artificial intelligence governance for organizations

man at podium
Keynote presenter Keith Sonderling, commissioner with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, discussed AI in employment decision making. Photos by Benjamin Simons, UF Warrington College of Business.

Artificial intelligence algorithms are used to generate predictions that contribute to health care decisions, who gets selected for job interviews and who is eligible for insurance coverage or bank loans. Yet because of data biases, AI applications can inadvertently become discriminatory.

At the UF-NSF Workshop on AI Governance workshop held February 6-7, attendees explored AI governance issues with a goal of developing interdisciplinary theories to help guide for-profit and non-profit organizations. The workshop was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions, UF Warrington College of Business, UF College of Medicine, Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and the UF Office of Research.

A group of leading AI experts from institutions in the U.S. and abroad presented on a range of topics related to AI and its applications and implications for hiring, management, privacy, health care treatment decisions, population health and more.

“The UF-NSF Workshop on AI Governance is one of the most focused, well-connected workshops I have attended in recent years,” said Ruogu Fang, Ph.D., an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. “Wonderful people to meet, thought-provoking talks, and memorable two-day networking with like-minded researchers from diverse areas and backgrounds. It is definitely a hidden gem!”

Keith Sonderling, commissioner with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, presented the workshop’s keynote, “The Promise and Perils of Artificial Intelligence in Employment Decision-Making.”

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Attendees and speakers included experts from the U.S. and abroad.

AI-driven technologies have the potential to make the workplace more open, fair and inclusive by eliminating unlawful discrimination from employment decisions, Sonderling argued. But AI can also amplify workplace bias if it is poorly designed or carelessly deployed. In his talk, Sonderling suggested ways employers can reap the benefits of AI while respecting the rights of workers.

The NSF Workshop on AI Governance traces its roots to the UF DAta Intelligence Symposium, or DAISY, which offered its first workshop in 2020, said DAISY co-founder Mattia Prosperi, Ph.D., a professor in the College of Public Health and Health Professions department of epidemiology and the college’s associate dean for artificial intelligence and innovation. Previous DAISY workshops have focused on transdisciplinary data science and data bias.

“DAISY is different every year and that’s the beauty of it,” Prosperi said. “In the same way that AI is evolving, our workshop evolves and that is what makes it special.”