Assignment 0: AI in your World

Jeffrey P. Bigham, Fall 2018, M/W from 3:00-4:20pm.

Your first (0th) assignment is to find an example from your own life where AI is used, describe it, and think about how it seeks to replace or augment you (or others), how it deals with errors, and whether there is a different stance that the designers of technical solutions could have taken that would have resulted in different answers to these questions.

As one example (which is already in the slides and you can't use), consider self-driving cars. In the formulation of the Pittsburgh Uber self-driving cars, the intent is to replace human drivers. This could be a great thing. People don't like to drive long commutes; people get tired/distracted and accidentally drive badly, whereas computers can keep constant focus; people with disabilities may not be able to drive independently at all, severely limiting their mobility.

Yet, driving is super complicated and errors (even when rare) are incredibly costly. While almost all self-driving car rides have been safe, a self-driving Uber killed a woman in Pheonix.

An alternative stance that some (mostly traditional) car manufacturers are taking is to use AI to help human drivers drive more safely. If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Humans are actually remarkably good at driving, and machines would seem to be good complements for them because they have different abilities (focus, attention, etc.). For instance, adaptive cruise control, proximity alerts, neat visualizations from the car's on-board cameras, assistant parallel parking, etc. All of these technologies don't attempt to take over driving from the human driver, but all of them make humans better drivers. Importantly, with the human ultimately in control, mistakes from the automated systems matter less.

For the assignment, please add a slide for the technology that you choose to this slidedeck:
Class Slidedeck.

Please put a draft of your slide up early, so other students know what you're planning to work on. Importantly, you can't work on something that someone else has chosen. We take a very broad view of what is "AI"...think "Engelbart" in addition to "machine learning".

Note: this is the only assignment of the course that doesn't involve programming. It's a good warm up, but don't use it to gauge whether you're up to the programming skills necessary for the course.