George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

New center builds collaboration at Arlington Forward event

January 28, 2020   /   by Ryley McGinnis

New Center hosts Arlington Forward event

As part of the 2020 Arlington Forward series, the Center for Advancing Human-Machine Partnerships (CAHMP) hosted an event Monday, January 27, to discuss how artificial intelligence impacts all aspects of life. Directors of CAHMP are Mason Engineering’s Amarda Shehu (right), a professor of computer science, Dave Lattanzi, an associate professor of civil engineering, and Brenda Bannan, an associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development.

Students, faculty, staff, and community members across disciplines came together at Van Metre Hall on the Arlington Campus on Monday, January 27 to discuss how artificial intelligence (AI) affects all walks of life.

As part of the 2020 Arlington Forward series, the Center for Advancing Human-Machine Partnerships (CAHMP) hosted a collaborative night with lightning talk presentations, posters, and discussion. Attendees studied green posters and presentations about how transportation, public safety, and even architecture is touched by developments in AI.

The night turned a normal academic event on its head. The evening started out with an introduction from the directors of CAHMP—Mason Engineering’s Amarda Shehu, a professor of computer science, Dave Lattanzi, an associate professor of civil engineering, and Brenda Bannan, an associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development.

“It’s not going to be very traditional,” Lattanzi said. “We want to listen to you. This is an event about creating a dialogue, and we really want you to tell us your interests, your concerns, what you’re excited about, and where you think we can have impact as a research center that is trying to address really complex problems that touch on all facets of society.”

“I came to see how these different areas can affect my research,” said Ajay Kulkarni, a PhD student in the College of Science who is working on educational data mining. “This is definitely a good event to see what is happening with AI in different departments.”

After fast-paced presentations from Mason faculty and organizations, such as the National Science Foundation, the audience broke out to listen to discussions about the various questions posed throughout the room about how AI affects different areas of research and life. Colorful post-it notes where people answered these questions or posed additional challenges covered the wall next to some of the posters.

“I look at educational data, but I’m looking more at underrepresented minorities, mainly in k-12 schools,” said Taylor Stevens, another PhD student from the College of Science. “There are so many different fields here like computer science, psychology, and stuff so getting their input is cool. You need a lot of different areas to work on education.”

The first night of the 2020 Arlington Forward ended in a buzz as the conversations continued while people walked out the door. The next collaborative event in the series will be hosted at Van Metre Hall on the Arlington Campus at 5:30 p.m. on February 13 with even more discussions about technology and society.

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