The series is made possible by the generosity of Bill (LAW’71) and Patty Kleh and the Kleh Family Foundation.

Redefining Tomorrow: The Unprecedented Opportunities and Challenges of Generative AI

November 15, 2023

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The disruption caused by Generative AI is unlike past technological disruptions primarily due to its transformative impact across various domains and the unprecedented human-like abilities it projects. AI is not limited to a specific industry or sector; it has the potential to reshape nearly every aspect of human life. AI models can compose music, write articles, discover new materials, create art, and even engage in natural language conversations with remarkable fluency — and, it is getting better by the day. This level of creative and cognitive capacity is unprecedented and blurs the line between humans and machines, paving the way for a future in which humans and generative AI become co-creators combining human creativity, empathy, and cultural norms with AI’s computational prowess that allow it to assimilate centuries of human knowledge. This future challenges traditional notions of work, creativity, and intellectual property, with far-reaching implications for industries, professions, and society as a whole. Moreover, the rapid pace of AI advancement means that the resulting disruption will continue to be swift and harder to predict, leading to profound societal impacts and changes in workforce dynamics, and necessitating new forms of education and regulation.

In this talk, Professor Bestavros will demystify Generative AI, exemplify its incredible potential in a variety of domains, discuss some of the ethical and legal dilemmas it introduces, and highlight the various ways in which BU is approaching the opportunities and challenges that AI presents to education and research in academia, as well as the role that the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences is playing in that regard.

About the series

Over the past decade and a half, some of the greatest minds at Boston University have had a rare opportunity: to travel to London and present their best thinking to one of the world’s more discerning audiences.

The event is the William H. and Patricia M. Kleh Lecture, held annually since 2001. As the roster attests, the speakers have been outstanding by any measure. They have addressed an almost astonishing range of topics: from art to politics to journalism to global health—and many, many more. The late Elie Wiesel challenged his audience to embrace peace and fight indifference, and to remain engaged as citizens in times of crisis. Ed Damiano described how his “bionic pancreas”—tantalizingly close to going to clinical trials—might soon revolutionize diabetes care. Even within a single field represented by multiple Kleh Lectures, the diversity of viewpoints has been impressive—music from Bach to Dylan, and empires from the United Kingdom to the United States.

If anything, the Kleh Lecture has exceeded expectations. It has done more for our faculty than anticipated. Far more than we could have hoped, it has reinforced Boston University’s reputation as a global crucible of powerful ideas. And perhaps it’s fair to say that each year, it educates, entertains, and delights its London audiences beyond their already high standards.

Today, on both sides of the Atlantic, people look forward to the Kleh Lecture.