ACM CCS 2017 Panel Discussion


The AI-Industrial Complex: The Challenge of AI Ethics

Wednesday, November 1st at 5:15pm, Dallas Ballroom BC

Panel Chair:

Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi, TU Darmstadt, CYSEC, Germany


John C. Havens, Executive Director of The IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems
Heather Patterson, Senior Research Scientist, Intel Labs
Arthur J. Redfern, Manager Machine Leaning Lab, Texas Instruments, USA
Howard Shrobe, Director of Cybersecurity@CSAIL, MIT, USA
Cliff Wang, Director of the Computing Sciences division at US Army Research Office
Susanne Wetzel, NSF Program Director for the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program


It took almost 20 years for Artificial Intelligent (AI) hype to strike back. AI systems are becoming reality and deployed in various application domains, ranging from social networks and ad targeting to autonomous vehicles and precision medicine. AI promises many benefits by improving accuracy, efficiency and safety of systems. Consulting companies make up new AI growth prognoses and statistics (as they do for every other hype). As the public and industrial funding in this field is increasing more and more, researchers and enterprises, particularly startup companies, are jumping on the AI train. AI will have a significant societal impact for which service providers with their huge user and data base will play a key and even more dominant role.

Much has been said and written in the recent past about benefits and hazards of AI. On one hand, AI presents a variety of security, privacy and safety challenges, such as opaque and biased decision-making, vulnerability to (input-oriented) attacks, violating privacy, sophisticated surveillance, trapping users into echo chambers in social networks, cyber deception, or malicious/faulty autonomous vehicle and weapon systems, to name a few. Indeed these issues and concerns have re-initiated the public debate as well as a number of initiatives on “AI Ethics” which has already become an active research field with rapid growth in research funding worldwide.

On the other hand, AI advocates point to many benefits of AI and in particular to its usefulness for enhancing cybersecurity, privacy as well as cyber safety of individuals, such as identifying attack patterns, improving the accuracy and false reject rates of automated approvals in payment systems, identifying hate speech and cyberbullying in online social networks, or highlighting fake news, etc.

This expert panel aims to discuss promises, pitfalls and ethics of AI, as well as future research directions in this fascinating area. Specifically, the panel will briefly discuss AI’s compliance with possible regulations (e.g., Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that is on the verge of being implemented).

Panel Chair

Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi is a full Professor of Computer Science at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, in Germany, where he heads the Scientific Excellence Team of the Cybersecurity center TU Darmstadt (CYSEC). Since January 2012 he is also the Director of Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Secure Computing (ICRI-SC) at TU Darmstadt. He received his PhD in Computer Science with the focus on privacy protecting cryptographic protocols and systems from the University of Saarland in Saarbrücken, Germany. Prior to academia, he worked in Research and Development of Telecommunications enterprises, amongst others Ericson Telecommunications. He has been leading and involved in a variety of national and international research and development projects on design and implementation of Trustworthy Computing Platforms and Trusted Computing, Security Hardware, and Applied Cryptography. He has been serving as general or program chair as well as program committee member of major conferences and workshops in Information Security and Privacy. He is Editor-In-Chief of IEEE Security and Privacy Magazine, and on the editorial board of ACM Books. He served 5 years on the editorial board of the ACM Transactions on Information and System Security (TISSEC), and was guest editor of the IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design (Special Issue on Hardware Security and Trust).


John C. Havens is Executive Director of The IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems. The IEEE Global AI Ethics Initiative has two primary outputs – the creation and iteration of a body of work known as Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Well-being with Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems and the identification and recommendation of ideas for Standards Projects focused on prioritizing ethical considerations in AI/AS. Currently there are eleven approved Standards Working Groups in the IEEE P7000™ series. Guided by over two hundred fifty thought leaders, The IEEE Global AI Ethics Initiative’s mission is to ensure every stakeholder involved in the design and development of autonomous and intelligent systems is educated, trained, and empowered to prioritize ethical considerations so that these technologies are advanced for the benefit of humanity. John is also a regular contributor on issues of technology and well-being to Mashable, The Guardian, HuffPo and TechCrunch and is author of the books, Heartificial Intelligence: Embracing Our Humanity To Maximize Machines and Hacking Happiness: Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World (both published by TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House). John was an EVP of a Top Ten PR Firm, a VP of a tech startup, and an independent consultant where he has worked with clients such as Gillette, P&G, HP, Wal-Mart, Ford, Allstate, Monster, Gallo Wines, and Merck. He is also the founder of The Happathon Project, a non-profit utilizing emerging technology and positive psychology to increase human well-being. John has spoken at TEDx, at SXSW Interactive (six times), and as a global keynote speaker for clients like Cisco, Gillette, IEEE, and NXP Semiconductors. John was also a professional actor on Broadway, TV and Film for fifteen years.

Dr. Heather Patterson is a Senior Research Scientist at Intel Labs, where she explore the ethics, politics, and social dynamics of emerging technologies. Trained as a cognitive scientist (Ph.D., University of Washington 2006) and privacy & technology lawyer (J.D., University of California, Berkeley 2012), her current focus is on building transparency, privacy, and accountability into technical systems in order to honor user information flow preferences and build trust. Dr. Patterson also holds an affiliate privacy scholar position at New York University’s Information Law Institute.

Dr. Arthur J. Redfern received a B.S. in 1995 from the University of Virginia and a M.S. and Ph.D. in 1996 and 1999, respectively, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, all in electrical engineering. Following his thesis work on nonlinear systems modeled by the Volterra series, Arthur joined Texas Instruments where he currently manages the Machine Learning Lab. His activities at TI have spanned the areas of machine learning (convolutional neural network based automotive and industrial applications, software libraries and hardware design), high performance computing (software libraries), signal processing for analog systems (ADCs, amplifiers, DACs, design optimization, speakers and touch screens) and communication system design (DSL, DTV and SerDes). He has over 20 papers published in refereed conferences and journals and has been granted over 20 US patents.

Dr. Howard Shrobe is a Principal Research Scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He received his BS in Math from Yale College in 1968 and his MS (75) and PhD (78) from MIT. He has been a member of the research staff since 1978, but has also served as Technical Director and VP of Technology at Symbolics, Inc. (which made an advanced computer for AI research in the 1980’s and 1990’s). He also served as a program manager at DARPA sponsoring research in software engineering, AI, and computer security. He has served as Associate Director of the MIT AI lab (a predecessor of CSAIL) and of CSAIL. He currently is the Director of CyberSecuirty@CSAIL, a partnership between CSAIL and a group of corporate affiliates.

Dr. Cliff Wang graduated from North Carolina State University with a PhD in computer engineering in 1996. He has been carrying out research in the area of computer vision, medical imaging, high speed networks, and most recently information security. Dr. Wang authored/co-edited 15 books in the area of information security and hold 4 US patents on information security system development. Since 2003, Dr. Wang has been managing the extramural research portfolio on information assurance at the US Army Research Office. In 2007 he was selected as the director of the computing sciences division at ARO while at the same time managing his program in cyber security. For the past ten years, Dr. Wang managed over $200M in research funding which led to significant technology breakthroughs. Dr. Wang also holds an adjunct faculty position at both the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University. He is a fellow of IEEE.

Dr. Susanne Wetzel recently joined the National Science Foundation (NSF) as Program Director for the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program. She is also a Professor in the Computer Science Department at Stevens Institute of Technology, where she leads a broad research program in cybersecurity and algorithmic number theory. Dr. Wetzel has contributed to research advances in secure multi-party computation (with applications in bartering, reconciliation, electronic voting, and auctions), wireless security, privacy, biometrics, security economics, and lattice-based cryptography. She developed and directed the department’s undergraduate degree program in cybersecurity which graduated its first class in Spring 2011. Until joining NSF, Dr. Wetzel also headed the Stevens’ Cybercorps®: Scholarship for Service program. Her work in cybersecurity education and research has been supported by grants from NSF, DHS, and DoD. Dr. Wetzel received her Diploma in Computer Science from the University of Karlsruhe (Germany) and her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Saarland University (Germany).