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Engineering Science DPhil student selected as AI Fellow

Second-year DPhil student Ruth Fong has been selected for an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Fellowship by the Open Philanthropy Project

Ruth Fong

An Engineering Science DPhil student has been selected for an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Fellowship by the Open Philanthropy Project. Seven 'very promising' machine learning researchers have been collectively recommended for a total of around $1.1 million in PhD fellowship support over the next five years.

Second-year PhD student Ruth Fong was selected, along with six other researchers from more than 180 worldwide applicants, for academic excellence, technical knowledge, careful reasoning and interest in making the long-term, large-scale impacts of Artificial Intelligence (AI) a central focus of her research.

Ruth says "Artificial Intelligence is part of a larger digital, technological revolution that has already begun to define the 21st century. However, scientific advancement has often outpaced human capabilities to ethically use new technology. My research focuses on developing methods that help us better understand how state-of-the-art neural networks behave and is part of a larger effort to encourage AI to be interpretable to humans. Interpretability is highly valuable and necessary to understand failure cases, such as AI reflecting human biases".

The Open Philanthropy Project AI Fellows Program aims to support a small group of the most promising PhD students in artificial intelligence and machine learning. The Fellows have a broad mandate to think through which kinds of AI and Machine Learning research are likely to be most valuable, to share ideas and form a community with like-minded students and professors, and ultimately to act in the way that they think is most likely to improve outcomes from progress in AI.

Ruth adds, "In addition to my research efforts, I also hope to mitigate the risks of AI by being actively involved in efforts to encourage diversity in the group of individuals developing and deploying AI. The more communities that are represented from basic research to commercialization of AI technology, the more likely preventable, negative consequences will be noticed and avoided".

Ruth is advised in the Department's Visual Geometry Group by Professor Andrea Vedaldi. She adds "I am very grateful for the support of Open Philanthropy as well as the support of many other organizations and individuals, including my supervisor Andrea Vedaldi and the Rhodes Trust, without whom I would not be the person and researcher I am today".