Brian Nord: Imagining scientific advancement in the era of AI

Brian Nord: Imagining scientific advancement in the era of AI

Wednesday, 6 October 2022 | 4pm | MIT 10-250

Pappalardo Distinguished Lecture in Physics

Brian Nord

Imagining Scientific Advancement in the Era of AI: Implications for Discovery and Community

Brian Nord  is an Associate Scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; Visiting Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago; and Senior Member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at University of Chicago. He is currently a 2022-2023 MLK Visiting Scholar at the MIT Laboratory for Nuclear Science in the MIT Department of Physics, hosted by Prof. Jesse Thaler.
The recent rapid adoption of new algorithmic frameworks, like artificial intelligence (AI), has disrupted both science and society. With this disruption comes a new opportunity to imagine how we approach the scientific method. For example, instead of just augmenting individual aspects of the scientific cycle with AI, what if we could (semi-)automate the full loop – from hypothesis generation to data analysis? How would this change experiment design? What impact might this have on our capacity for discovery? We’ll discuss these questions in the context of cosmic experiments.
The adoption of new algorithmic techniques has also already begun to influence the organization and setup of our research communities, which unfortunately still contain unnecessary barriers to career advancement, especially for people from marginalized and minoritized groups. This AI-driven disruption, however, presents another chance to ask, “How can we redesign our practices and communities, where the health and well-being of our colleagues are prioritized, where justice and trust are foundational?” 
Finally, there are significant implications for individuals and society when AI is applied in our everyday lives – e.g., facial recognition. We will discuss the roles and responsibilities that scientists may have in working for the ethical application of AI.
Refreshments at 3:30pm in 4-349 (Pappalardo Community Room)*
*There cannot be any eating or drinking in 10-250, so please plan to finish your food/drink in 4-349