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Augment Human Capabilities Research Mission

HAI seeks to develop new human-centered design methods and tools so that AI agents and applications are designed and created with the ability to communicate with, collaborate with, and augment people more effectively, and to make their work better and more enjoyable. These breakthroughs will allow great progress in healthcare, education, sustainability, automation, and countless other domains. 

AI has the potential to replace people in their jobs. But AI also has the potential to educate, train, and augment people, making them better at their tasks and activities. AI can make the quality of an individual’s work better, resulting in better writing, design, healthcare, communication, teaching, and art. 

People are social animals; machines are not. To achieve broad acceptance, AI systems must conform to the often-implicit cultural conventions that underlie human interaction and communication. When should such systems “listen” and when should they “speak up”? If they require a shared resource, how can they balance their own needs with those of others? If humans are asked to rely on machine guidance to augment their decisions (and perhaps override their intuition), they may need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the AI. 

The advances and considerations developed in our other areas of focus, in addition to research in design methods, will help us to create systems that have these more appropriate communication capabilities. This underlying research will be combined with the use of AI in important application domains, such as education, healthcare, and sustainability, where the new design methods and tools can be leveraged and evaluated.

Additional Research Areas

Human Impact  Intelligence

Blog: Insights & News

How to Build a National Research Cloud
by Beth Jensen
February 23rd, 2021

Stanford launches policy practicum to chart a course toward the democratization of AI.

Economy and Markets
Law, Regulation, and Policy
How to Get More Truth from Social Media
by Stanford Engineering Staff
February 4th, 2021
Sociologist and former journalist Mutale Nkonde warns that the AI behind much of today’s social media is inherently...
Design and Human-Computer Interaction
Ethics and Justice
Machine Learning
Can Artificial Intelligence Map Our Moods?
by Edmund L. Andrews
January 25th, 2021

A Stanford researcher uses machine learning to identify mood swings through social media.

Language Processing
Machine Learning
How Robots Perceive the Physical World
by Stanford Engineering Staff
January 21st, 2021
Karen Liu, a specialist in computer animation, expounds upon her rapidly evolving specialty, known as physics-based...
Automation and Robotics

Sample Research Projects

Dynamic Artificial Intelligence-Therapy for Autism on Google Glass

Dennis WallTom Robinson and Terry Winograd

Children with autism (ASD) struggle to recognize facial expressions, make eye contact, and engage in social interactions. There is potential to meet this need through wearable tools. Tapping into this potential, we have prototyped an AI tool for automatic facial expression recognition that runs on Google Glass through an Android app to deliver social emotion cues to children with autism while interacting with family members in their natural environment. With the HAI grant, we will refine the system’s efficacy and ready it for deployment.

Learning Haptic Feedback for Motion Guidance

Julie Walker, Andrea Zanette, Mykel Kochenderfer and Allison Okamura

Haptics is a promising method for providing guidance to users during human-machine interaction, particularly through wearable or ungrounded devices. We plan to apply modeling and reinforcement learning to optimize ungrounded and wearable haptic guidance. We hope these methods will improve the ability of humans and intelligent systems to communicate effectively during tasks such as robotic surgery, teleoperation, and collaborative object manipulation.

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