A three-day celebration of the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing—a bold endeavor to create the future of computing and artificial intelligence education and research with a deep concern for societal impact—drew experts on artificial intelligence, machine learning, ethics, education, and more to campus in February for a three-day celebration.
Headliners for the events, held February 26–28, included Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, New York Times columnist and author Tom L. Friedman, and Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google and a visiting innovation fellow at MIT. Martin Schmidt SM ’88, PhD ’83, MIT provost, and Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering and Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, cochaired the event’s planning committee.
Created with a $350 million foundational gift from Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chairman, chief executive officer, and cofounder of the asset management firm Blackstone, the college is at the vanguard of MIT’s $1 billion commitment to address the global opportunities and challenges presented by the ubiquity of computing and the rise of artificial intelligence. Schwarzman discussed his aspirations for the college during a moderated discussion with MIT President L. Rafael Reif.
The college is set to open in September 2019, and by 2022 it will take up residence in a new building not far from the Kendall Square innovation district. Before long, the college is expected to be humming with the activity of 50 new faculty members conducting pioneering research on computing and at the nexus of computing and diverse disciplines—as well as exploring the social and ethical implications of that research.
“There is no more important opportunity or challenge facing our nation than to responsibly harness the power of artificial intelligence so that we remain competitive globally and achieve breakthroughs that will improve our entire society,” Schwarzman said. “The technology is going to affect the whole world, and we have to get it right.”
“As computing reshapes our world, MIT intends to help make sure it does so for the good of all. In keeping with the scope of this challenge, we are reshaping MIT. The MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing will constitute both a global center for computing research and education, and an intellectual foundry for powerful new AI tools.” —L. Rafael Reif, MIT President
“What’s really driving me is that artificial intelligence, quantum computing, machine learning, robotics—all of these new technologies are going to change the world. It’s happening already and it’s profound.”
—Stephen A. Schwarzman, CNBC interview, February 28
“Technologists themselves must much more deeply understand what they are doing, how they are deeply changing human life.”
—Melissa Nobles, the Kenan Sahin Dean of the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences