A Carative Approach to AI Governance

Kush Varshney, IBM Research
Host: Institute of Assured Autonomy and Computer Science

In recent times, we often hear a call for the governance of AI systems, but what does that really mean? In this talk, I will first adopt a control theory perspective to explain governance that determines the reference input via value alignment, data scientists acting as the controller to meet the values in a machine learning system, and facts captured in transparent documentation as the feedback signal. I will later go into further depth on value alignment via CP-nets and performance metric elicitation, and AI testing and transparency via factsheets. I will conclude by adopting a nursing theory perspective to explain how the control theory perspective lacks caring and the need for a carative approach that starts with the real-world problem as experienced by the most vulnerable people.

Speaker Biography

Kush R. Varshney was born in Syracuse, NY in 1982. He received the B.S. degree (magna cum laude) in electrical and computer engineering with honors from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, in 2004. He received the S.M. degree in 2006 and the Ph.D. degree in 2010, both in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge. While at MIT, he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Dr. Varshney is a distinguished research staff member and manager with IBM Research at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY, where he leads the machine learning group in the Foundations of Trustworthy AI department. He was a visiting scientist at IBM Research - Africa, Nairobi, Kenya in 2019. He is the founding co-director of the IBM Science for Social Good initiative. He applies data science and predictive analytics to human capital management, healthcare, olfaction, computational creativity, public affairs, international development, and algorithmic fairness, which has led to recognitions such as the 2013 Gerstner Award for Client Excellence for contributions to the WellPoint team and the Extraordinary IBM Research Technical Accomplishment for contributions to workforce innovation and enterprise transformation, and Harvard Belfer Center Tech Spotlight runner-up for AI Fairness 360. He conducts academic research on the theory and methods of trustworthy machine learning. His work has been recognized through best paper awards at the Fusion 2009, SOLI 2013, KDD 2014, and SDM 2015 conferences and the 2019 Computing Community Consortium/ Schmidt Futures Computer Science for Social Good White Paper Competition. He self-published a book entitled ‘Trustworthy Machine Learning’ (http://www.trustworthymachinelearning.com/) in 2021. He is a senior member of the IEEE.