Designing AI to Cultivate
Human Well Being


Photo Credit: Christopher Michel.
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How do we design AI to promote human flourishing?

The past decade of machine learning has given us self-driving cars, practical speech recognition, video game playing robots, effective web search, and revolutionary drug treatments. While Artificial Intelligence has been impressive in achieving these specific tasks, this does not always correspond to the broader goal of cultivating human well-being. The goal of this class is to bridge the gap between technology and societal objectives: How do we design AI to promote human flourishing?

On Day 1, we draw on behavioral research to discuss what makes humans thrive. Behavioral research shows that for people to flourish, they need meaning, which involves an ability to understand and value others, a sense of belonging, and knowledge that they are making a contribution bigger than themselves. The conditions for this occur when people feel they have the resources and insight to establish a sense of meaning for themselves. Students will draw on this research to focus on building AI technology that effectively understands, communicates with, collaborates with and augment people. On days 2-5, leaders across industries (e.g., healthcare, transportation) that fundamentally affect human wellbeing will participate in lightning round exchanges to delve deeply into the challenge of building technology focused on human well-being, followed by interactive discussion with students. On the last day, the four-person cross-disciplinary teams will present their 2 page white paper proposals to invited guests.

About the Course

GSBGEN 596 / CS421 (2 units)

Dates of Class: Feb 25, 27, March 1, 4, 6, 8

Time: 3:00 – 6:00 pm PST

Email Wendy De La Rosa
and Jolena Ma

This is a multi-disciplinary cross-listed course focused on the goal of helping to build AI technology that promotes human flourishing. This course aims to expose (a) GSB students to deep learning and AI techniques focused on human well-being, and (b) CS students to behavioral science and design thinking, as well as frameworks and research to better understand human well-being and human-centered designs. Students will form cross-disciplinary teams and work on a final project that delves into an industry and proposes a detailed 5-year road map on how that industry might evolve with AI algorithms that focused on human well-being.

The Team

Meet the professors behind
this exciting interdisciplinary course.

Jennifer Aaker

General Atlantic Professor at Stanford GSB

Fei-Fei Li

Stanford CS Professor

Get in Touch

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to you as soon as possible