January 29, 2024

First-Annual AI Symposium Sees Leaders Share AI Solutions

Rapid advancements in artificial intelligence continue to test business leaders and policymakers with questions on how to adopt and adapt the technology for their organizations. The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business now has a forum for leaders to convene and find their answers together.

On Tuesday, Jan. 23, the Smith School held its first-annual AI Symposium on Design and Governance at the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center. The event brings together policy and industry thought leaders who have built (or are building) high-impact AI solutions in the real world for keynotes, discussions and networking opportunities.

Throughout the day, participants received insights from seven keynote speakers and two panel discussions featuring topics including investing with large language models, challenges for AI policy and governance, and using AI to lower the risk of road crashes.

UMD Senior Vice President and Provost Jennifer King Rice helped welcome attendees to the event. During her remarks, she highlighted the complexity of implementing AI technologies by posing questions about their ethical uses and their ability to prioritize equity without reinforcing biases. She also acknowledged its potential to create positive efficiencies and advance the public good.

“These grand challenges can't be solved by one discipline or academia alone. They require people from multiple fields, disciplines and sectors to work together to accelerate solutions to issues facing our society,” said King Rice. “I'm glad to see the Smith School taking the lead on conversations about AI, design and governance issues.”

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Smith School Dean Prabhudev Konana echoed King Rice’s sentiments and expressed the importance of identifying ways to implement AI technology in the classroom to support the education of the next generation of leaders.

“There are so many opportunities to apply AI to solve the grand challenges of our time,” said Konana. “We cannot view AI as a danger to education. Instead, we must adopt ChatGPT and other generative AI platforms in classrooms because today’s students are ahead of it. That’s why this particular symposium is important.”

Balaji Padmanabhan, Dean's Professor of Decisions, Operations & Information Technologies, introduced the event and served as the emcee between keynotes. He expressed his excitement about the event’s potential to change AI policies and solutions across industries.

“The event’s title, our focus on design and governance, essentially reflects the fact that making AI work in the real world is a challenge,” said Padmanabhan. “It’s with this context that the Smith School is excited to continue hosting this event and bringing thought leaders to campus.”

Among the invited keynote speakers was Aneesh Chopra, co-founder and president of CareJourney, a healthcare analytics platform with a transparent provider ratings system anchored on value-based care measures. He also served as the U.S. government’s first chief technology officer from 2009 to 2012.

In his keynote, Chopra shared his optimism for the future of AI through greater collaboration between public and private sectors. He noted that “the public sector can be an active force to unlock the potential of these technologies to make a difference in people's lives.”

He offered three approaches to implementing AI-powered technologies in public and regulated sectors of the economy. These include opening data for problem solvers, accelerating standards development and issuing challenges rather than proposal requests. Chopra also stressed the importance of investing in AI while establishing fair and effective safety principles and maintaining transparency with users and stakeholders.

“We’re going to have to adopt a risk management framework to track all of the systems with AI or generative AI models. Another part of the goal is getting end users smarter and more capable of incorporating these technologies,” said Chopra. “I’m bullish and excited. This is going to be a huge chapter of problem-solving.”

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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