Projects  |    |  August 26, 2020

Northwestern University Machine Learning Impact Initiative

Project that aims to bring together a diverse network of researchers and professionals to explore the potential impacts of machine learning on human health and safety. The initiative draws upon Northwestern’s leadership in artificial intelligence (AI), and supports the development of a clear roadmap for research into issues of safety and impact in the digital age.


Artificial intelligence and machine learning are drastically changing the way we function in the digital world. In many areas, these technologies are moving faster than our efforts to understand them or their implications. With issues of security, fairness, privacy, bias, and performance, we have only begun to explore how to test, evaluate, and manage how these technologies impact human health and safety. Our mission is to understand the impact on humanity and individual human lives.

  • Technology — We research the inherent risks, hazards, and issue areas within AI and machine learning.
  • Application — We study the risks, hazards, and issue areas of application of the technology to specific disciplines or areas of life.
  • Impact — We explore where the impact of AI and machine learning may be greatest to human health and societal safety.


  • We aim to create a sustainable network of researchers engaged in exploring the human impact of machine learning, and to publish a research roadmap white paper that will outline the necessary focus areas for further study on how best to harness machine learning technology to be safe and effective for all.

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