Leading the Way to AI You Can Trust

April 2, 2024

AI app and textbook

The George Washington University is an emerging leader in the design of trustworthy artificial intelligence (TAI) in systems and for society. With a focus on the real-life applications and sociotechnical implications of artificial intelligence (AI), GW is announcing the launch of the GW Trustworthy AI (GW TAI) initiative and the initiative’s first corporate partner, SAIC, a Fortune 500 technology integrator.

GW TAI will bring faculty across the university together in pursuit of impact-focused interdisciplinary research, including connecting choices about data and design to strategies for governance of AI systems and the data on which they are trained and deployed.

"Every day, the George Washington University's world-class faculty, students and staff tackle pressing challenges and harness emerging opportunities to build a greater world," said GW President Ellen M. Granberg. "Today, we are accelerating those efforts by fostering partnerships across academia, industry and government to understand the rapidly evolving field of AI and ensure it has a safe and positive impact on our lives and communities."

In addition to leveraging the research and technical expertise of its academic scholars, GW TAI will work with corporate, government and community partners to assess and inform policy with science and peer-reviewed evidence. Corporate partnerships will play a particularly integral role in connecting GW TAI experts with real-world AI use cases and in creating conduits of research dissemination for true impact.

SAIC, a premier Fortune 500 technology integrator focused on advancing the power of technology and innovation to serve and protect our world, will collaborate with GW as the inaugural and founding member of GW TAI’s corporate partnership program.

“SAIC is committed to ethical and safe AI development, deployment and use, and we are honored to partner with George Washington University on this important initiative,” said SAIC’s Senior Vice President of Digital Innovation Factory Andy Henson. “We are eager to begin the collaboration with GW, as we continue to develop our innovation pipeline and build and deploy AI systems that people can trust.”

John Lach, dean of the GW School of Engineering and Applied Science, said that the school has “identified a range of challenges that can occur when new innovations are deployed into society without considering the social, technical and ethical effects of those systems.”

“The complexities that exist in the development of AI-enabled systems require partnerships across industries and disciplines to mitigate potential adverse impacts they may have in society,” Lach said. “This is why we are excited about this new initiative and its inaugural partnership with SAIC.”

GW TAI will bring together trustworthy AI research and education expertise from across the university, building upon our recognized excellence in this area as co-lead of the NIST-NSF Trustworthy AI in Law and Society (TRAILS) Institute and our innovative educational programs such as the NSF Research Traineeship on the co-Design of Trustworthy AI in Systems (DTAIS). The initiative will leverage GW’s proximity to policymakers and the region’s growing tech sector to recruit the brightest and most diverse talent, establish strategic relationships with corporate entities and build a network of experts and individuals who will facilitate shared understanding of trust in AI and provide real-time solutions to this complex and fast-changing technology.

“Fundamental to our approach with GW TAI is a desire to do meaningful research that positively impacts practice. Industry is on the frontlines of wrestling with the challenges of how best to implement AI in a responsible way,” said Zoe Szajnfarber, director of strategic initiatives for GW Engineering and a faculty director for GW TAI. “Partnerships, like the inaugural one with SAIC, will facilitate two-way dissemination: we expect their experience to inspire our research, and our novel solutions to inform their practice.”

GW’s Trustworthy AI faculty experts believe there is a need to balance both the opportunity for AI to transform society for good and the risks that arise as AI tools are used in new ways and embedded in complex systems. This approach will require a multi-disciplinary, multi-sector perspective and necessitates new models for how to educate the next generation of experts and practitioners. GW has both research and academic programs that are built on approaching the challenges AI presents with an integrative lens.

Through this partnership, SAIC will gain early access to innovative Trustworthy AI research, an opportunity to participate in transformative discussions and strategic planning for the next iteration of AI technology and engage with a talent pipeline of leaders, developers and policy makers equipped to navigate the challenges of implementing Trustworthy AI.

“SAIC is looking forward to co-developing thought leadership around diverse topics related to Trustworthy AI, which we see as a natural continuation of SAIC’s work on industry-leading AI solutions,” said Allison Banzon, SAIC senior data scientist, AI ethics and learning analytics, digital innovation factory artificial intelligence. “Additionally, the opportunity for SAIC to collaborate with GW students on future research is an invaluable way for us to inform our work with research-backed practices while identifying the next wave of emerging leaders in ethical AI.”

Visit trustworthyai.gwu.edu to learn more.