Gaoling School of AI Announced

January 5,2019

In January of 2019, Renmin University announced The Gaoling School of AI, dedicated to the study of AI in the humanities and the field’s impact on society. Drawing upon Renmin University’s world-class strength in the humanities, the School aims to set the standard for a thoughtful and interdisciplinary approach to the study of technology.

While most traditional technology institutes view engineering and technical research as distinct from the humanities, The Gaoling School of AI in was founded on the belief that an interdisciplinary approach is essential to a considered and comprehensive understanding of the modern challenges we face as a society. Specifically, it will explore how technology can be applied to areas such as philanthropy, law and economics, as well as its overall impact on society.

The School aims to serve as a model for entrepreneurs to use technology to make positive contributions to society. It encourages business leaders to consider how their technological achievements can improve people’s lives at a time when the business community is increasing its focus on both the volume and effectiveness of its philanthropic efforts.

The curriculum and operations of The School will be managed by an outstanding team of academics.

Lei Zhang, a Renmin University alum, made a generous donation to the Renmin University in 2017 that the school decided to us, in part, to establish The School.

The Gaoling School of AI officially launched on April 22, 2019. Below is the speech that Lei Zhang gave at the launch event:

Two years ago, we decided to donate RMB 300 million to my alma mater to support the development of innovative cross-disciplinary research. To achieve this goal, the university leadership has decided to use part of this contribution to establish The Gaoling School of AI, dedicated to the study of AI in the humanities and the field’s impact on society.

Education is an investment that never needs to be withdrawn.

I’m proud to be associated with this project. AI is clearly leading a revolution in technology that will significantly impact society. As we approach this developing and critical field, we should do so, not only thinking about its technical nature, but also using an interdisciplinary approach that takes into account the humanities and social sciences, to better understand its full impact on society.

Today, innovation and technology has reached a new phase. It impacts a huge range of fields, as far flung as retail, biomedicine and manufacturing, just to name a few. AI is helping to reimagine these industries. Big data, combined with algorithms, is allowing retailers to understand their consumers better and customize their offerings accordingly. AI is allowing medicine to develop more quickly and efficiently, including the creation of personalized medicines. AI has the potential to change the face of numerous industries, enabling integration across different fields. The fundamental way that AI is changing so many areas of research is why I believe this is exactly the right time to establish The Gaoling School of AI.

As I look out today, I see representatives from a wide range of technology companies here. A new industry trend marked by intelligence and digitalization is coming, and AI will be central to this. The Gaoling School of AI has a chance to become a connector between technology companies and other members of society, and an incubator for cultivating exchanges in the industry.

Kant said, "There are only two things in this world that can deeply shock our hearts: one is the splendid starry sky above us, the other is our lofty moral law." We are at a crossroads, where new rules and roadmaps are being built in the field of technology. At this moment, a humanities and societal-oriented approach is necessary to ensure that the rules for AI are developed thoughtfully.

AI is a revolution in computing power. Just like steam and electricity in the previous two technological revolutions, it is a new kinetic energy that can drive all industries, and it has the possibility to facilitate dialogue across various industries and fields.

In this dialogue between AI and the future, the power of science and technology is critical, but so is the power of humans. We believe that human beings have enough wisdom and ability to embrace creative thinking while contemplating technological change. We must put forward constructive questions and create a better future by carefully considering what is best for mankind and society at large.

I look forward to seeing what can be achieved at The Gaoling Institute for AI.

Beyond education and research, we must pay attention to multidisciplinary thinking.

Beyond efficiency, we must pay more attention to inclusiveness and fairness.

Beyond technology, we must pay more to its impact on the soul, and we must protect dignity, rights, and eternal value of humanity while embracing change.

In the continuous rush of innovation, we will usher in a beautiful new world that promotes the spirit of both science and humanity.

Thank you all!