ACM SIGAI Launches its 2018 Student Essay Contest…Apply Now!

It’s fall in the States and that means it’s time for the 2018 ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest on Artificial Intelligence Technologies! Win one of several $500 monetary prizes or a Skype conversation with a leading AI researcher including Joanna Bryson, Murray Campbell, Eric Horvitz, Peter Norvig, Iyad Rahwan, Francesca Rossi, or Toby Walsh.

(The following text is from the ACMSIGAI blog “AI Matters“)

The Contest

The ACM Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence (ACM SIGAI) supports the development and responsible application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. From intelligent assistants to self-driving cars, an increasing number of AI technologies now (or soon will) affect our lives. Examples include Google Duplex (Link) talking to humans, Drive.ai (Link) offering rides in US cities, chatbots advertising movies by impersonating people (Link), and AI systems making decisions about parole (Link) and foster care (Link). We interact with AI systems, whether we know it or not, every day.

Such interactions raise important questions. ACM SIGAI is in a unique position to shape the conversation around these and related issues and is thus interested in obtaining input from students worldwide to help shape the debate. We therefore invite all students to enter an essay in the 2018 ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest, to be published in the ACM SIGAI newsletter “AI Matters,” addressing one or both of the following topic areas (or any other question in this space that you feel is important) while providing supporting evidence:

  • What requirements, if any, should be imposed on AI systems and technology when interacting with humans who may or may not know that they are interacting with a machine?  For example, should they be required to disclose their identities? If so, how? See, for example, “Turing’s Red Flag” in CACM (Link).
  • What requirements, if any, should be imposed on AI systems and technology when making decisions that directly affect humans? For example, should they be required to make transparent decisions? If so, how?  See, for example, the IEEE’s summary discussion of Ethically Aligned Design (Link).

Each of the above topic areas raises further questions, including

  • Who is responsible for the training and maintenance of AI systems? See, for example, Google’s (Link), Microsoft’s (Link), and IBM’s (Link) AI Principles.
  • How do we educate ourselves and others about these issues and possible solutions? See, for example, new ways of teaching AI ethics (Link).
  • How do we handle the fact that different cultures see these problems differently?  See, for example, Joi Ito’s discussion in Wired (Link).
  • Which steps can governments, industries, or organizations (including ACM SIGAI) take to address these issues?  See, for example, the goals and outlines of the Partnership on AI (Link).

All sources must be cited. However, we are not interested in summaries of the opinions of others. Rather, we are interested in the informed opinions of the authors. Writing an essay on this topic requires some background knowledge. Possible starting points for acquiring such background knowledge are:

  • the revised ACM Code of Ethics (Link), especially Section 3.7, and a discussion of why the revision was necessary (Link),
  • IEEE’s Ethically Aligned Design (Link), and
  • the One Hundred Year Study on AI and Life in 2030 (Link).

ACM and ACM SIGAI

ACM brings together computing educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the field’s challenges. As the world’s largest computing society, ACM strengthens the profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM’s reach extends to every part of the globe, with more than half of its 100,000 members residing outside the U.S.  Its growing membership has led to Councils in Europe, India, and China, fostering networking opportunities that strengthen ties within and across countries and technical communities. Their actions enhance ACM’s ability to raise awareness of computing’s important technical, educational, and social issues around the world. See https://www.acm.org/ for more information.

ACM SIGAI brings together academic and industrial researchers, practitioners, software developers, end users, and students who are interested in AI. It promotes and supports the growth and application of AI principles and techniques throughout computing, sponsors or co-sponsors AI-related conferences, organizes the Career Network and Conference for early-stage AI researchers, sponsors recognized AI awards, supports AI journals, provides scholarships to its student members to attend conferences, and promotes AI education and publications through various forums and the ACM digital library. See https://sigai.acm.org/ for more information.

Format and Eligibility

The ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest is open to all ACM SIGAI student members at the time of submission.  (If you are a student but not an ACM SIGAI member, you can join ACM SIGAI before submission for just US$ 11 at https://goo.gl/6kifV9 by selecting Option 1, even if you are not an ACM member.) Essays can be authored by one or more ACM SIGAI student members but each ACM SIGAI student member can (co-)author only one essay.

All authors must be SIGAI members at the time of submission.  All submissions not meeting this requirement will not be reviewed.

Essays should be submitted as pdf documents of any style with at most 5,000 words via email to https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=acmsigai2018.

The deadline for submissions is January 10th, 2019.

The authors certify with their submissions that they have followed the ACM publication policies on “Author Representations,” “Plagiarism” and “Criteria for Authorship” (http://www.acm.org/publications/policies/). They also certify with their submissions that they will transfer the copyright of winning essays to ACM.

Judges and Judging Criteria

Winning entries from last year’s essay contest can be found in recent issues of the ACM SIGAI newsletter “AI Matters,” specifically  Volume 3, Issue 3: http://sigai.acm.org/aimatters/3-3.html and  Volume 3, Issue 4: http://sigai.acm.org/aimatters/3-4.html.

Entries will be judged by the following panel of leading AI researchers and ACM SIGAI officers. Winning essays will be selected based on depth of insight, creativity, technical merit, and novelty of argument. All decisions by the judges are final.

  • Rediet Abebe, Cornell University
  • Emanuelle Burton, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Sanmay Das, Washington University in St. Louis
  • John P. Dickerson, University of Maryland
  • Virginia Dignum, Delft University of Technology
  • Tina Eliassi-Rad, Northeastern University
  • Judy Goldsmith, University of Kentucky
  • Amy Greenwald, Brown University
  • H. V. Jagadish, University of Michigan
  • Sven Koenig, University of Southern California
  • Benjamin Kuipers, University of Michigan
  • Nicholas Mattei, IBM Research
  • Alexandra Olteanu, Microsoft Research
  • Rosemary Paradis, Leidos
  • Kush Varshney, IBM Research
  • Roman Yampolskiy, University of Louisville
  • Yair Zick, National University of Singapore

Prizes

All winning essays will be published in the ACM SIGAI newsletter “AI Matters.” ACM SIGAI provides five monetary awards of USD 500 each as well as 45-minute skype sessions with the following AI researchers:

  • Joanna Bryson, Reader (Assoc. Prof) in AI, University of Bath
  • Murray Campbell, Senior Manager, IBM Research AI
  • Eric Horvitz, Managing Director, Microsoft Research
  • Peter Norvig, Director of Research, Google
  • Iyad Rahwan, Associate Professor, MIT Media Lab and Head of Scalable Corp.
  • Francesca Rossi, AI and Ethics Global Lead, IBM Research AI
  • Toby Walsh, Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence, UNSW Sydney, Data61 and TU Berlin

One award is given per winning essay. Authors or teams of authors of winning essays will pick (in a pre-selected order) an available Skype session or one of the monetary awards until all Skype sessions and monetary awards have been claimed. ACM SIGAI reserves the right to substitute a Skype session with a different AI researcher or a monetary award for a Skype session in case an AI researcher becomes unexpectedly unavailable. Some prizes might not be awarded in case the number of high-quality submissions is smaller than the number of prizes.

Questions?

In case of questions, please first check the ACM SIGAI blog for announcements and clarifications: https://sigai.acm.org/aimatters/blog/. You can also contact the ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest Organizers at sigai@member.acm.org.

  • Nicholas Mattei (IBM Research) – ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest Organizer and AI and Society Officer

with involvement from

  • Sven Koenig (University of Southern California), ACM SIGAI Chair
  • Sanmay Das (Washington University in St. Louis), ACM SIGAI Vice Chair
  • Rosemary Paradis (Leidos), ACM SIGAI Secretary/Treasurer
  • Benjamin Kuipers (University of Michigan), ACM SIGAI Ethics Officer
  • Amy McGovern (University of Oklahoma), ACM SIGAI AI Matters Editor-in Chief

 

The World’s Most Active ACM Student Chapters Video Series

Episode 2: Cornell University ACM-W Student Chapter, USA

The representation of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine) fields has been a much debated topic throughout the tech industry and academia in recent times. With so much attention and effort made to improve representation within industry, student-led bodies are doing their part, if not more. One of these student organizations is WICC (Women In Computing At Cornell), whose core mission is to empower women to carve their own paths in the field of computer science.

WICC is one of the most recognized ACM-W Chapters in North America, and it works tirelessly toward its mission. Alongside some great individuals from their team,  over the past few months XRDS worked with WICC to find the best way to showcase their hardwork. Just as we featured the UPES ACM Student Chapter in our first video, we bring to you our second episode in the series, featuring the ACM-W chapter from Cornell University: WICC.

We hope you’ll enjoy seeing the video as much as we enjoyed making it! And please do visit their social media channels to learn more about them.

Foolproof Formulas for Boosting Your Academic Social Media

Featured image for blog post by Cori Faklaris: More of What Works in Social Media (For Academics)

The second of 2 blog posts on tips for academics to use social media to reach a wider audience for their research and for their careers.

Use principles such as consistency, reciprocity and the 2:1 rule to build up your content and followers on your professional social media accounts.

So you’ve set up your social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. (Didn’t do that yet? See my first post: “A Professional Academic’s Guide to Using Social Media.”) Now what?

Below, I provide a few of my “tricks of the trade” — lessons I’ve learned in my time managing my own online brand and those of my employers and clients on social media. These ideas will help social media enthusiasts to go about systematically building their content and followers the way the non-academic pros do it.

Continue reading

A Professional Academic’s Guide to Using Social Media

Featured image for blog post by Cori Faklaris: What Works in Social Media (For Academics)

Academics can follow these tips on how to use social media to reach a wider audience for their research and for their careers.

Learn how to promote yourself and your research to a global audience with these best practices for Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Odds are that, if you are reading this, you use some form of social networking app. According to Statista, Facebook’s flagship app alone had 2.2 billion monthly active users as of April 2018. YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat round out the top 5 in their global ranking – with a very long tail of other social media platforms following below, such as Instagram, Sina Weibo and Reddit.

However, using social media to promote yourself and your work for your professional life in academia and for a job search can be different from using social media for connecting with friends and family, for entertainment purposes or to fill up your spare time. In this post, I will introduce you to the best practices for social media branding and promotion that I have learned in my previous career as a social media producer and consultant. I use these best practices also in my new life as a researcher and academic, and I think you should too!

Continue reading

Evolution of NLP Techniques based on the Google Books Corpus

Great Ideas in current Computer Science Research

Computer Science (CS) Research is an emergent and exciting area. Classical parts of CS are being reshaped to fit a more modern concept of computing. One domain that is experiencing a renaissance is Natural Language Processing (NLP). Classical NLP tasks are being expanded to include time-series information allowing us to capture evolutionary dynamics, and not just static information.  For example, the word “bitch” was historically synonymous with a female dog, and more recently became (pejoratively) synonymous with the word “feminist.”

ACM BLOG IMG1Fig1:  The Trend of “Feminist” Over Time and Its Close Relatives

Traditional thesauruses do not contain information on when this synonymy was generated, nor the surrounding events that gave rise to this. This additional information about the historicity of the linguistic change is so innovative that it blurs the boundary between disparate disciplines: NLP and Computational Linguistics. This added dimension also allows us to challenge the foundations of traditional NLP research.

Language is the foundation of civilization. The story of the Tower of Babel in the Bible describes language as the uniting force among humanity, the key to its technological advancement and ability to become like G-d. Speaking one same language, Babel’s inhabitants were able to work together to develop a city and build a tower high enough to reach heaven. Seeing this, G-d mixes up their language, taking away the source of the inhabitants’ power by breaking down their mutual understanding. This story illustrates the power and cultural significance of universal language. Continue reading