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  • NISTH to Monitor Technology Impacts on Society
    Winners of the inaugural NISTH Ideas Challenge

NISTH to Monitor Technology Impacts on Society

Mar 26 2019 Read 676 Times

The NTU Institute of Science and Technology for Humanity (NISTH), officially launched in March by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), has been established to study the impact of technology on human society and to bring industry, government and academia together to find ways to enhance the use of technology for the betterment of humanity.
NTU President, Professor Subra Suresh, said: "The global society will continue to undergo rapid changes over the coming decades in response to the accelerating pace of technological progress catalysed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. While many of these changes will have positive outcomes for individual citizens, organisations, governments and society, there are also potential concerns, challenges and questions surrounding ethical dilemmas, inequality, work force retraining, policies, regulations, sustainability and the impact of technology on the lives and livelihoods of people. A human-centric and ethical approach to science and technology is therefore imperative. With its unique and diverse intellectual strengths, the NTU community of highly talented people is well-positioned to play a leading role in fostering activities that bring together global thinkers to identify ways to maximise the benefits of technologies while minimising technology’s possible negative effects and unintended consequences for individuals and societies.”
NISTH will be helmed by Professor Vanessa Evers, renowned for her work in the field of socially intelligent computing and human-computer interaction. Presently Professor of Computer Science at the University of Twente’s Human Media Interaction group in the Netherlands, she is also vice dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science and Scientific Director of the university's DesignLab. She has taught at the University of Amsterdam, served as a visiting researcher at Stanford University and Tsinghua University and worked for the Boston Consulting Group in London. Prof Evers has also played a number of advisory roles in industry.

Marking the NISTH launch, NTU organised the inaugural NISTH Ideas Challenge, a university-wide competition aimed at mapping out the fundamental issues and principles that would help guide the development of AI for the benefit of society and humanity.

Top Prize went to educational development specialist Emanuel Tan, from NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, who proposed an online mediation system for AI to resolve conflict in AI-related disputes, such as human-robot conflict.
The second prize went to School of Computer Science and Engineering and School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences students Bisakha Das, Mohit Prashant and Poorvi Ashok, who raised the issue of discriminatory profiling with AI.
Humanities research fellow Dr Kadek Ratih Dwi Oktarini and Dr I Made Riko, senior research fellow at the Asian School of the Environment clinched third place for their proposal on an intelligent Internet chatbot system (AI Companion) that interconnects with various medical facilities. Three other teams of contestants will also receive commendation awards.

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