The University of Maryland, College Park, is creating an interdisciplinary institute to study and teach how artificial intelligence can be developed ethically and responsibly.

It will be called the Artificial Intelligence Interdisciplinary Institute at Maryland, bringing together experts already at the university from fields including engineering, journalism and education.

The hub will support faculty research, offer experiential learning opportunities, and eventually add new faculty, classes, minors, majors and graduate programs.

“Artificial intelligence continues to grow exponentially, creating opportunities to solve the grand challenges of our time. With this institute, our experts will work together to globally lead responsible AI development that spurs economic growth and promotes human well-being,” University President Darryll J. Pines said in a statement.

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The institute will be housed in the university’s existing College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, a university spokesperson said. UMD is planning for a new building for the institute in the future.

The university already has more than 100 faculty members who study or teach about artificial intelligence, according to the announcement. Maryland researchers have already used AI to develop a chatbot to answer parenting questions, tiny drones to act as pollinators and a new kind of violin lesson.

Hal Daumé III, a professor in UMD’s Department of Computer Science, will be the AI institute’s first director. In a statement, Daumé said AI-infused systems can “enhance human capacity and creativity, mitigate complex society challenges, and foster innovation.”

Neda Atanasoski, a professor and chair of the Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at UMD, will be the institute’s associate director of education and Sheena Erete, an associate professor in the College of Information Studies, is its associate director of research.

The new institute will be funded through research grants, donations, industry partnerships and the university. Donors and other partners haven’t yet been announced by the university. The university spokesperson said there aren’t any such partnerships ready to announce yet.

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Earlier this year, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signed an executive order directing state agencies to study AI and its potential uses.

President Joe Biden also signed an executive order in 2023 aimed at protecting the United States from unsafe or dangerous uses of AI and encouraging the development of artificial intelligence that is “safe, secure, and trustworthy.”

Cody Boteler is a reporter on The Banner’s Express Desk, reporting on breaking news, trending stories and interesting things in and around Baltimore. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, USA TODAY, Baltimore magazine and others.

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