Launched in 2016, the Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence (CHAI) is led by UC Berkeley artificial intelligence (AI) expert Stuart Russell. Russell, a Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and the Smith-Zadeh Professor in Engineering, is co-author of Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, which is considered the standard text in the field of artificial intelligence, and has been an advocate for incorporating human values into the design of AI.
Russell is quick to dismiss the imaginary threat from the sentient, evil robots of science fiction. The issue, he said, is that machines as we currently design them in fields like AI, robotics, control theory, and operations research take the objectives that we humans give them very literally. Told to clean the bath, a domestic robot might, like the Cat in the Hat, use mother’s white dress, not understanding that the value of a clean dress is greater than the value of a clean bath. CHAI’s mission is to develop the conceptual and technical wherewithal to reorient the general thrust of AI research towards provably beneficial systems.