Past Event

The CAIT Distinguished Lecture Series | Ayanna Howard: The Good and The Ugly: How Robots and AI Influence Human Behavior

September 13, 2022
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
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In Person & Online

Did you miss this event? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE.


People tend to overtrust sophisticated computing devices, especially those powered by AI. As these systems become more fully interactive with humans during the performance of day-to-day activities, ethical considerations in deploying these systems must be more carefully investigated. Bias, for example, has often been encoded in and can manifest itself through AI algorithms, which humans then take guidance from, resulting in the phenomenon of excessive trust. Bias further impacts this potential risk for trust, or overtrust, in that these intelligent systems are learning by mimicking our own thinking processes, inheriting our own implicit gender and racial biases, for example. These types of human-machine feedback loops may consequently have a direct impact on the overall quality of the interaction between humans and machines, whether the interaction is in the domains of healthcare, job-placement, or other high-impact life scenarios. In this talk, we will discuss various forms of human overtrust with respect to these intelligent machines and possible ways to mitigate the impact of bias in our interactions with them.

Dr. Ayanna Howard is the Dean of Engineering at The Ohio State University and Monte Ahuja Endowed Dean's Chair. Previously she was the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Endowed Chair in Bioengineering and Chair of the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Howard’s research encompasses advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), assistive technologies, and robotics, and has resulted in over 275 peer-reviewed publications. She currently works on projects ranging from healthcare robots to developing methods to mitigate bias and trust in AI. She is a Fellow of IEEE, AAAI, AAAS, and the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). She was also recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. To date, Dr. Howard’s unique accomplishments have been highlighted through a number of other public recognitions, including being recognized as one of the 23 most powerful women engineers in the world by Business Insider and one of the Top 50 U.S. Women in Tech by Forbes. In 2013, she also founded Zyrobotics, which developed STEM educational products to engage children of diverse abilities. Prior to Georgia Tech, Dr. Howard was at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she held the title of Senior Robotics Researcher and Deputy Manager in the Office of the Chief Scientist. She also served on the National Academies’ Committee on Responsible Computing Research: Ethics and Governance of Computing Research and its Applications and currently serves on the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC) and on the standing committee of the One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100).

A limited number of seats are open to Columbia affiliates to attend in person by registering. Online attendance is open to the public with registration.


The CAIT Distinguished Lecture Series seeks to promote education and learning on the state of artificial intelligence technology through lectures from both academic and industry researchers and experts. Lectures are held throughout the academic year and are open to the public.