Welcome to CELEBRATE: The College!
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Welcome to CELEBRATE: The College!

[TYPING SOUNDS] [MUSIC PLAYING] Artificial intelligence
and the evolving domains of computer science
will be defining forces in the next phase
of human history. Our shared future hinges
on the ethical evolution of technologies that are
transforming modern life. The MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman
College of Computing aspires to be the true
north of computing and AI. We will create the
next generation of highly trained computational
thinkers and doers, who can offer the world
the cultural, ethical, and historical consciousness
to use technology for a better world. We aim to lead the race to the
horizon of computing and AI knowledge. Our discoveries will leave an
indelible imprint on education, intelligence, the environment,
design, , finance, health music, manufacturing,
policy, security, transportation, and
diverse areas beyond. This is how MIT will
shape the future. And that future
starts right now. Hello. I am Susan Silbey,
Chair of the Faculty. On behalf of the 1,040
members of the MIT faculty, I would like to welcome
you to this historic event. This is a historic
moment locally, as we celebrate the opening of
the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing. We may produce
disruptive innovation, but we are rather
organizationally conservative. It has been 65
years since we last created a new school at MIT. This is, however, an
historically important time beyond MIT and across the globe. Today more people,
across wider swaths of this earth than ever
before in human history, enjoy the rights and
privileges of citizenship. By that, I mean the ability to
participate in self-governance. Yet at this very same moment,
those legally protected rights and privileges of
citizenship are subject to more powerful,
significant, and disruptive challenges than ever since
the 25-year-old aspiration became the foundation of
the modern democratic state. The very same technologies– the internet, search
platforms, and social media– that join people
across the globe in ever more
robust, interactive, and widespread connections,
also threaten our democracies. We live in a new world order,
a radically new organization of time and space,
of people and things. Vast temporal, spatial, and
cultural distances are bridged. Social organizations based
on similarity and proximity have been transformed into
functionally interdependent connections among very
different and distant people. The quantity and pace
of social Interaction have increased geometrically. The everyday lives
of the majority of people in most social
classes all over the globe are constituted
by more encounters of shorter duration over greater
distances than ever before. This is life on the internet. In this escalating
energetic circulation of information and
exchange, threats to democratic
citizenship take root. We do not simply use
the internet as a tool to shop, to find
information, or just keep track of
appointments and friends. With every click,
search and view, we the users supply the
information for the algorithms to analyze and the
platform companies to sell. We supply the fuel, the
inputs, the raw materials of what is now a world
of constant digitized surveillance. And as a consequence,
we the users become the objects that
are themselves used. A global architecture
of computer mediation produces distributed
and largely uncontested new and controlling
forms of power, which despite their
distribution are concentrated in a hub of
less than a half dozen firms. This new world is constituted by
unexpected and often illegible mechanisms of extraction,
contractually permitted and regularly improved
monitoring, personalization and customization,
continuous experimentation, commodification and control,
but effectively exiled persons from their own behavior
while producing new markets of behavioral
prediction and modification. At this moment in
history, the internet distributes more information
than has ever circulated freely in human history. Yet, at the same time as
the circulation of knowledge advances, the threats
and challenges to expertise and
to truth escalate, challenging democratic norms
and centuries-long evolution of democratic citizenship. How did this happen? First, the inventors of
the internet overlooked the essential role
of conflict and– excuse me, context
in shaping the uses and consequences of technology. A tool made for physicists
to exchange information on a military platform
was given to the world. Something built for a
normatively cohesive and highly disciplined community
was distributed to a world ungoverned by
shared norms of participation. If the first problem
was ignoring context, the second was
generalizing from oneself. This was such a good
technology for us, it must be good for everyone. By seeing oneself as
every man, the inventors ignored human variation. They forgot to user test
with diverse populations. Finally, the
inventors demonstrated canonical group think, talking
and listening to themselves and to a narrow set,
and especially excluding unfamiliar, perhaps even
critical perspectives. So what do we do now? Observers have been
suggesting some possible fixes of various scales
and probability. Our colleague, Tim
Berners-Lee, is working on his solid platform
to re-decentralize the web. Others suggest legal regulations
and information fiduciaries. Some mentioned ethics boards
for the major internet platforms and social media. And here is a great opportunity
of the Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, to
pursue all lines of exploration and yet more that we
haven’t yet even imagined. More profoundly, the
College of Computing will be dedicated to educating a
different kind of technologist, with greater understanding
of the importance of context, of the importance of culture and
its variations, a technologist with the ability to understand
institutions and organizations and thus less likely to make
these kinds of mistakes. We hope to integrate
computing with just about every other subject at
MIT, so that when students leave here they will have the
knowledge and resources to be wiser, more ethically and
technologically competent citizens and professionals. This is a very
serious assignment, one that could have
global consequences. And no one understands this
better than our next speaker. Since 2012, Rafael
Reif has served as the 17th President of MIT. As many of you already
know, he is a person who makes no small plans. Rafael spearheaded the
creation of MITx and edX, MIT’s pioneering
efforts to shape the future of higher education. A champion for both
fundamental science and for MIT’s signature style
of interdisciplinary problem centered research, he
recently cut the ribbon on MIT.nano, the largest,
most open facility of its kind in the nation. He created a new
organization, The Engine, to help tough tech
startups thrive. He is leading the decade-long
redevelopment of Kendall Square, and recently raised the
goal of MIT’s Capital Campaign to $6 billion. So it is no surprise
that he had the bold idea to create the Schwarzman
College of Computing. I have been pleased
to work closely with Rafael, and with Provost
Marty Schmidt, and Dean of Engineering
Anantha Chandrakasan, as the college took shape. And it is my pleasure to
introduce him to you now. Please welcome MIT
President Rafael Reif. [APPLAUSE] Good morning. Although I probably
should say hello, world. Hello, MIT. A warm hello to everyone
here this morning, and to our many special
guests, including Massachusetts Governor
Charlie Baker, who will take the
stage in a moment. Susan, where did you go? Thank you for that
extremely kind introduction. And thank you for
your observations, thought provoking as always. The MIT Schwarzman
College of Computing came to life gradually
over many months. And the process was
not always linear. And Susan, you led us
to the wisdom of voices from across the MIT community. And you helped us find
a path to success. So I want to thank
you personally for your support,
your leadership, and your dedicated
service to MIT. Arriving at this day required
intense effort and creativity from hundreds of people. And I thank you all. However, I would like to
start by thanking one person, in particular. I first met Steve
Schwarzman a few years ago. Obviously, I’m an academic. And Steve comes from
the world of business. But very quickly, he became
interested and curious, always curious, in what
we’re doing at MIT. One conversation led to another. And eventually we
both came to see that given the
pervasiveness of computing, and especially AI, preparing
the nation for the future will require bold action. If we want to maintain America’s
competitiveness in computing research and
development, and if we want to make sure that this
technology is developed and used in ways that
serve our whole society, it will require bold
action from industry. It will require bold, sustained
investment from government. And it will require
bold initiatives from higher education. In effect, and especially as a
leading technical institution, we must reshape ourselves
to prepare our students to shape the future. And the MIT Stephen A.
Schwarzman College of Computing is MIT’s answer
to that challenge. So I hope you will join
me now in thanking Steve for taking the time
to understand MIT, and for providing the
foundational support that will help the people of MIT, and
many more inspired by his gift, as we all work together
to make a better world. Thank you, Steve. [APPLAUSE] Before we begin,
two, three quick thank yous to people who worked
some serious miracles to get us to the college announcement, and
particularly since the college announcement last October. Let me start first to thank our
EVP and Treasurer Israel Ruiz. Very little of
importance happens at MIT without his deep engagement. I also want to
offer a huge thanks to our Dean of Engineering
Anantha Chandrakasan, and to his whole
team, for imagining this spectacular three
day event including today, and making it all come to life. And finally, I want to express
my tremendous gratitude to our Provost Marty Schmidt. In just a few months, Marty
created five faculty working groups to think through core
questions about the college. He somehow persuaded
those groups to have the reports done by May. And he found us an
outstanding dean. In fact, I’m delighted that
the founding Dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of
Computing, Dan Huttenlocher, is with us today. Dan, where are you so
that we can see you? Can you stand up? I’m over here. [APPLAUSE] This afternoon, Marty will
have more to say about Dan and what inspires
us to choose him. Today’s program offers a
fascinating combination of doers and thinkers from
inside and outside MIT. I expect the presentations will
challenge us and inspire us. And we’re grateful to everyone
who agreed to speak here today. But the most important
part of this event is not the people on the stage. It is all of you gathered here. It is all of us. Dan is the founding
dean of the college. But together, we are
its founding community. Looking at the audience
of many computing experts, I am humbled, excited, and
amazed at the opportunity before us. And as a former
electrical engineer, I am not going to
try to tell you anything about computing or AI. But I do want to give
you a sense of how I view the significance
of what we begin today with the launch of MIT
Schwarzman College. It is certainly a big deal
for current and future MIT students. Students have been
telling us for years, through the courses they
choose, that computation is now as fundamental as math. They have also made
clear that they want and need to be bilingual,
as fluent in computing as they may be in biology, urban
planning or economics. And so at last, we have
rearranged the institute to reflect that wisdom and
to accelerate that reality. I believe the college is also
a big deal for our faculty. You can hear it in fascinating
new conversations starting all over campus. Very few things get faculty
more excited than new questions, new tools, new possibilities. And their excitement
tells us, in turn, that the college is also a
big deal for higher education. MIT is far from the
only institution responding to the challenge
of the algorithmic future. But history shows that in terms
of technical education, what MIT does can inspire new
approaches around the world. Think of our founding
commitment to learning by doing, or the grounding of engineering
in science or Europe, project Athena, or edX. So we should aim high. I believe the MIT
Schwarzman College will also be a big deal for the nation. To start with, the
scale of this commitment shows the federal
government that we’re serious about the need for
an intense national focus on, and investment in
artificial intelligence. And in the long run,
the college would produce graduates prepared to
bring the power of computing to every sector of our society. In the end, the MIT
Schwarzman College could also have great
significance for the world, if we get it right. So what will it mean
to get it right? There are many
practical challenges. For instance, we
need to figure out how to do interdisciplinary
teaching as well as we already do interdisciplinary research,
across widely divergent fields and at scale. But these things
will come with time. To me, a defining
challenge will be how well we succeed
in making ethics and societal impact an
integral lasting focus in the life of the college. Today questions are
around the impact on ethics of technology tend
to be apologetic explorations of what went wrong, often
occurring long after the fact, if at all. Everyone here knows that pushing
the limits of new technologies can be thrilling. So thrilling, that it’s hard
to think of bad consequences and how a tool might be misused. But the fact is, technologies
like AI could be so powerful that we cannot allow
ourselves to be intoxicated. There is no
designated driver who can keep society safe on
the road to the future. We must all take responsibility
for staying alert and staying sober, and for building the
policy guardrails that will keep us all out of the ditch. It is time to educate a new
generation of technologists in the public interest. And I’m optimistic that the
MIT Schwarzman College is the right place for that job. In the coming
decades, it will feel as though the opportunities,
disruptions, and progress of the Industrial
Revolution are playing out at time lapsed speed. Responding to the
magnitude of this challenge will require a strategic
effort across society. Technology belongs to all of us. Our society must be alert
to the risks posed by AI. But there is no
time to be afraid. Those nations and
those institutions that act now to shape
the future of AI will help shape the
future for us all. I’m immensely grateful
to join you in this work as members of the founding
community of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing. And I have the
highest aspirations for what we can and
must achieve together. So let’s get started. And now it’s my pleasure to
introduce our next speaker. Massachusetts
Governor Charlie Baker has been a tremendous advocate
for advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, clean
energy, biotech, and workforce development. We also count on him as an
outstanding supporter, advisor, and ally for
fundamental science, and for all of us
working to strengthen the regional
innovation ecosystem. He is, in short, a
great friend to MIT. Please join me in welcoming
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. [APPLAUSE] So good morning, everyone,
and to President Reif, and to Professor Silbey, and to
Steve and Christine Schwarzman, and to all of the people who
are here who are part of this. On behalf of the Commonwealth
and the country, frankly, and probably the
world over time, I just want to say thank you. [APPLAUSE] You know, as I was
thinking a little bit about what an English major from
Harvard might be doing here– [LAUGHTER] –and a guy who got his graduate
degree in management out at the Kellogg School
in Northwestern, and studied mostly public
policy and finance– I thought a little bit
about why I might be here and what I might be able to say. And frankly, Professor
Silbey put it so beautifully, I’m not really sure I
got much to add to that. But then the other thing
I am, is I’m 62 years old. And I’ve had a chance
to sort of watch the evolution of this technology
revolution as a citizen. And I remember in
the 1970s and ’80s, when my friends in the
engineering community would talk to me
about Moore’s Law, and how the acceleration
of capacity in technology was going to be a
really great thing. And I remember in the ’90s, when
one of my friends in the tech community said to me– this is before people
were even getting used to the idea of email– there’s this thing
called the internet, and it’s going to
be bigger than TV. And I remember a few
years after that, when another friend of mine
in the tech world came to me and said– this is, again,
before anybody really had gotten very far down the
road of handheld technologies. Most of us had a flip
phone at that point, but we really weren’t
much beyond that. And I had a friend of mine say,
it’s going to go from the TV to your desktop, which
eventually, obviously, became your laptop,
to a device that’s going to be about the
same size as your phone. And that small screen is going
to be where most of the action is. And what I’ve taken
away from that, as I’ve watched that play
out over time is, first of, all I’ve obviously had
some pretty smart friends. They most have all gone to MIT. [LAUGHTER] But the second thing I’ve
taken from it is we do tend– and it’s not just
true in technology. It’s true in a lot of things. We do tend to focus on
the positive opportunities associated with the advancements
of tools and knowledge. And sometimes we either
don’t pay attention to, or miss some of the
other consequences that are associated with those
advancements in tools and technologies. And that’s been true across a
wide range of tool development, tool making, and
technological developments over the course of
hundreds of years. What was the thing
that we missed? And we keep doing it over
and over and over again. And again, I thought Professor
Silbey’s comments just nailed it. And I think that’s because
she’s a humanities, sociology, and anthropology
person, which is almost like being an English
major, but not quite. [LAUGHTER] But we are heading
into a period of time here when you think about that
whole issue of how much we can do with technology, and how much
more machine learning and AI is going to bring to the table. We’re having somebody or
some group of somebody’s who are multidisciplinary,
really smart, trained in a whole variety of
fields, thinking really hard not just about the positive
opportunities associated with this, but some of their
downsides and the consequences associated with it, as well. And I got to tell you, I give
MIT enormous credit, and again, to the Schwarzmans
and to Professor Reif, for taking this leap into
thinking not just about what the positive opportunities
associated with all this are going to be, but what some
of the other issues that we really need to think about
that are collateral to it. Because there are plenty
of people out there who are going to
take all this stuff and do really bad
things with it. And there are plenty
of people out here are going to do really
good things with it. But as a public official
who knows that we are always running way behind
the thought leaders in these spaces
in terms of really understanding and appreciating
what’s coming next, having a place like MIT and a
center like this in a college like this really thinking about
the whole picture with respect to what this is going to mean
for individuals and businesses and governments and societies– it’s a gift. And to have it be
here in Massachusetts, here at MIT, a place
where I consider to be among the most
important institutions not just in the Commonwealth,
but in the world– where we can all rest
assured that people will take the mission and the
objective and the opportunity seriously, and we’ll bring the
best people not just in the US, but across the world
into the conversation. Well, frankly, it’s gratifying. And in closing, I
would just say this. There’s no doubt in my
mind that those people who talked to me about Moore’s
Law, and those people who talked to me about the
development of the internet, and those people who
talk to me about the fact that it’s all going to come
down to the small screen, they were all right. But they didn’t talk to me
about the whole shooting match with respect to
what might come from that. And I think it was because their
enthusiasm for the next act in technology capability
just overwhelmed either their interest
or their capacity in thinking about what the rest
of the show and the picture might look like. And for MIT, and
the Schwarzmans, and all the rest of
the people who’ve been involved in this
to step up and make sure we don’t miss the rest
of that conversation as this whole thing
unwinds over the course, or unfolds over the course of
the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years, that’s a really big deal. And today is a really big day. And I’m telling you
as somebody who’s lived through a big part
of this as an observer, as a public official, as a
business operator, and just as a citizen, to have MIT
in this role at this point as we head headlong into
the positive opportunities associated with this,
it’s a really great thing. And you should all
be enormously proud. And I can tell you, I
am enormously grateful. God bless and good luck. [APPLAUSE]

About James Carlton

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10 thoughts on “Welcome to CELEBRATE: The College!

  1. I want to get into MIT
    currently in class 11
    and hey I know about Arduino, java, ide, raspberry, kali linux
    But in India none cares 😕😕

  2. Awesome! I hope I get accepted (I hear back in 3 days). I'm extremely interested in AI and have been doing some machine learning solo projects recently. Can't wait for Pi Day!

  3. Happy to know the new AI studies that is going to start at MIT , will also take into account the down side of the technology. That down side effect is really ransacking the humanity in many ways. This must stop. Ways and means needs to be found to protect the privacy of the individual as well as institutions. Now it is trampled upon as we can see happening across the world. AI can help in this area.
    Thank you all.

  4. xTalks Office of Digital Learning
    1 second ago
    Prof Silbey is a compelling speaker. She asks the difficult, important questions. So glad she is at MIT.

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