Note: Since we have limited space, if you are interested in attending this course, it is required to apply at the following link: APPLY TO ATTEND

CS 28 - Fall 2017

Artificial Intelligence, Entrepreneurship and Society in the 21st Century and Beyond

Mon 4:30 PM - 5:50 PM in Herrin T175

Course description
Technical developments in artificial intelligence (AI) have opened up new opportunities for entrepreneurship, as well as raised profound longer term questions about how human societal and economic systems may be re-­organized to accommodate the rise of intelligent machines. In this course, closely co­taught by a Stanford professor and a leading Silicon Valley venture capitalist, we will examine the current state of the art capabilities of existing artificial intelligence systems, as well as economic challenges and opportunities in early stage startups and large companies that could leverage AI. We will focus on gaps between business needs and current technical capabilities to identify high impact directions for the development of future AI technology. Simultaneously, we will explore the longer term societal impact of AI driven by inexorable trends in technology and entrepreneurship. The course includes guest lectures from leading technologists and entrepreneurs who employ AI in a variety of fields, including healthcare, education, self-­driving cars, computer security, natural language interfaces, computer vision systems, and hardware acceleration.

Surya Ganguli is an Assistant Professor of Applied Physics at Stanford, with courtesy appointments in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Neurobiology. He leads the highly interdisciplinary Stanford Neural Dynamics and Computation lab, whose research spans the fields of neuroscience, physics, and machine learning. Prof. Ganguli’s work involves combining and extending techniques from mathematics, physics, statistics, and computer science to better understand how biological neural circuits work, as well to better analyze and design artificial neural networks. He also consults one day a week at the Google Brain Research Team.

Hemant Taneja is a Managing Director at General Catalyst, a premier venture capital firm with approximately $4b raised. He is currently on the board of the Stanford Engineering VC Fund. He is a leading thinker on technology and investing with involvement in companies like Snap, Stripe, Samsara, Gusto, ClassDojo and Color Genomics. He is also co­-founder (with Tom Steyer, Member of the Board of Trustees at Stanford) and board chair of Advanced Energy Economy and a member of the Stanford Medicine Board of Fellows. Finally, Hemant has thought deeply about the intersection of AI, entrepreneurship and society; he is currently finishing a book, Unscaled, that explores these issues in depth and is due out in early 2018.

Structure of the course
This class is a 2 unit guest lecture/discussion course. Meeting once a week for lectures and discussions, we will systematically focus on a set of questions that we believe are of critical importance to computer science. These questions include for example:

  • What are the current technical limits of AI systems?
  • What are the gaps between these technical limits and today’s business and societal needs?
  • What new, high impact AI technologies are needed to fill these gaps?
  • What are the challenges faced by early stage startups and large companies in commercializing AI?
  • How will inexorable advances in AI, combined with entrepreneurship that leverages these advances, impact society?
  • How might we need to re­-organize society and/or technology to make sure these impacts are positive?
  • What technical design decisions should AI practitioners make now to ensure positive future societal impact?
Lecture schedule
The course begins with a technical lecture by Surya Ganguli on the existing frontiers of AI technologies across a variety of domains, and a lecture by Hemant Taneja on applications of these AI technologies with an emphasis on entrepreneurial perspectives, algorithmic accountability and societal impact. We will then delve deeper into issues surrounding AI, entrepreneurship and society through discussions with a sequence of guest lecturers. The full lecture schedule is to be announced.