Like a growing cyclone that’s picking up speed and momentum, artificial intelligence (AI) is already leaving an impact on society that’s both abrupt and dramatic.
Take it from the tech dignitaries, industry insiders and astute academics who have struggled themselves to fully grasp the surge in AI development over the last year. They’ve used terms like awe-inspiring, revolutionary, terrifying and destructive. While none of these terms may paint a completely accurate picture of the incredible AI whirlwind, they don’t feel entirely off-base either.
Simply reflect on some of the greatest technological innovations in human history: The printing press accelerated the spread of knowledge and kicked off a new era of enlightenment. The calculator unlocked vast potential in mathematics, making complex computations faster and more accurate. The search engine transformed how we access and retrieve information from the world’s boundless digital expanse.
AI is poised to do all of those things (again) and more. It has the potential to produce medical breakthroughs that will improve — and even save — countless lives. It will give living and future generations dynamic creative tools that “Star Trek” screenwriters couldn’t have conjured. It could also become the most powerful driver for prosperity to date.
But let’s be honest: It’s also kind of scary. AI can create text, images and audio with a single prompt. It’s already ushering in a new era of career displacement. And like many other breakthrough innovations, it will be utilized by bad actors to distort, manipulate and harm.
Researchers and educators at UTSA are hoping to harness artificial intelligence for good — to enhance human capabilities, revolutionize industries such as health care, defense and energy, and push past the limits of what we thought possible.
In fact, thought leaders at UTSA were telegraphing AI’s tornado-like potential several years ago. In 2019, the university completed a cluster hiring of new faculty members dedicated to generating AI solutions that would make positive changes in society. The university then founded MATRIX: The UTSA AI Consortium for Human Well-Being in 2020 to embrace transdisciplinary approaches that would lead to greater advancements in artificial intelligence. UTSA also recently launched bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in artificial intelligence to provide students with industry-ready skills in this emerging technology across multiple fields.
In the four following articles, UTSA faculty who have immersed themselves in the world of artificial intelligence will explain how the university has become a leader in a unique and imaginative area of study known as neuro-inspired AI. UTSA instructors will also discuss how they’re incorporating AI into the classroom to enhance learning and better prepare all UTSA students for a workforce that’s being reshaped in real time.