Near Friday the 13th March 2020, everyone at Stanford University started a giant experiment in working, studying, and doing research from home. A dozen or so souls associated with the libraries met once a week by Zoom to maintain a sense of connection and community and to talk about the basics of A.I. in an effort to understand what it was and what it might mean for academic libraries.
We started with the Elements of AI course by the U of Helsinki. By the end of the course, there was enough interest that we continued the discussion by converting to a reading group which eventually became an informal group within AI4LAM. We started off with Melanie Mitchell's Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans. The ongoing awareness of race and social justice issues along with the shocking death of George Floyd on May 24th 2020, brought us to read texts such as Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Noble and Race After Technology by Ruha Benjamin before turning to texts by Stewart Russel and Meredith Broussard towards the end of the year. As the global pandemic stretched into another calendar year, in 2021 we read a total of 11 books and one long form article on smart cities. We also decided to continue our AI training and completed the Building AI course by the U of Helsinki. The books we chose in 2021 featured topics about the data that feeds AI, along with issues of privacy, racism, and self-determination. In 2022, we have read a smaller number of books, and have focussed more on the current evolving conversation around A.I. by reading and discussing more articles. A complete list of our readings is here.
We are unofficial, self-organized, ad hoc and welcome anyone who is interested. Join us on the AI4LAM Slack channel #reading-group. Typically we meet at 9:30am PT/12:30pm ET every other Friday.
Also keep an eye out here for upcoming reviews of the books we cover in our Reading Group.