MIT scholars awarded seed grants to probe the social implications of generative AI


Jose-Luis Olivares, MIT

Jose-Luis Olivares, MIT

In July, MIT President Sally Kornbluth and Provost Cynthia Barnhart issued a call for papers to “articulate effective roadmaps, policy recommendations, and calls for action across the broad domain of generative AI.”

Over the next month, they received an influx of responses from every school at MIT proposing to explore generative AI’s potential applications and impact across areas ranging from climate and the environment to education, health care, companionship, music, and literature.

Now, 27 proposals have been selected to receive exploratory funding. Co-authored by interdisciplinary teams of faculty and researchers affiliated with all five of the Institute’s schools and the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, the proposals represent a sweeping array of perspectives for exploring the transformative potential of generative AI, in both positive and negative directions for society.


Selected papers by members of the MIT Media Lab community, and friends of the Lab, include:

  • “Generative AI and Equitable AI Pathway Education,” led by Cynthia Breazeal, Antonio Torralba, Kate Darling, Asu Ozdaglar, George Westerman, Aikaterini Bagiati, and Andres Salazar Gomez
  • “Auditing Data Provenance for Large Language Models,” led by Deb Roy and Alex 'Sandy' Pentland
  • “Advancing Equality: Harnessing Generative AI to Combat Systemic Racism,” led by Fotini Christia, Catherine D’Ignazio, Munzer Dahleh, Marzyeh Ghassemi, Peko Hosoi, and Devavrat Shah
  • “Generative AI and K-12 Education,” led by Hal Abelson, Eric Klopfer, Cynthia Breazeal, and Justin Reich
  • “Direct Democracy and Generative AI,” led by Lily Tsai and Alex 'Sandy' Pentland
  • “Generative AI to Support Young People in Creative Learning Experiences,” led by Mitchel Resnick
  • “Who Do We Become When We Talk to Machines? Thinking About Generative AI and Artificial Intimacy, the New AI,” led by Sherry Turkle
  • “AI for Musical Discovery,” led by Tod Machover
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