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UI2 and Tanner Humanities Center team up for discussion of artificial intelligence

If AI is already here, can we change and shape this technology’s role in our future?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is woven throughout modern life: From Netflix algorithms recommending shows similar to those you’ve watched in the past, to your car’s navigation system braking before you do, to your smartphone offering suggested responses—“Sounds good!”—to that text you’re writing.

So if AI is already here, can we change and shape this technology’s role in our future?

The University of Utah Informatics Initiative (UI2) and Tanner Humanities Center are hosting a virtual symposium to explore AI’s role in society.

“Each of our lives is increasingly impacted by Artificial Intelligence—how we accomplish tasks, our habits, even the way we think about the world—and nearly every aspect of intellectual pursuit is changing through this technology,” said Mike Kirby, UI2 director. “To be proactive, we need to ask not only, ‘What do we do?’ but ‘How do we do it?’”

The symposium, which runs from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Sept. 21 and 22, is offered to University of Utah community members and industry partners from across the academic spectrum as an opportunity to discuss the ethical, social and technical implications of artificial intelligence and its impact on society. The Zoom gathering will feature keynote speaker Moshe Vardi, who leads Rice University’s Initiative on Technology, Culture and Society. Other discussions about the intersections of technology and society are planned throughout the fall.

“The Tanner Humanities Center is committed to examining the social and cultural impacts of technological innovation on humanity,” said Erika George, Tanner Humanities Center director. “We’re excited to explore new approaches to more inclusive technological innovation informed by the human experience.”

Symposium organizers are calling for presentation proposals through Aug. 12. Register for Day 1 and Day 2. To learn more about the symposium, review the call for presentation proposals.

In its third year, the Informatics Initiative was established by Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dan Reed to build on the university’s existing education, research and workforce development strengths in data science. The initiative is funded using annual performance-based funding from the Utah Legislature.

For more information about UI2, visit, or contact Mike Kirby, executive director ( For more information about the Tanner Humanities Center, visit, or contact Director Erika George (