At a January 2018 Girl Geeks Toronto event on Ethical AI, we listened to 3 articulate, brilliant women discuss the engineering feats and ethical vulnerabilities of current and near-future artificial intelligence. The recording is very high-quality, and I encourage you to grab a hot beverage and watch it – and listen.  Listen very carefully.   Inmar Givoni (Autonomy Engineering Manager at Uber Advanced Technologies Group),  Karen Bennet  (VP Engineering at Cerebri AI) and Anna Goldenberg (Member of the Vector Institute, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Department of Computer Science, and Scientist at the Genetics and Genome Biology Lab at SickKids Research Institute), each focus on different areas of engineering and may not share common experiences or opinions. But one thing they do agree on is that it is a problem that ethical and societal policies regarding AI are not keeping pace with the technologies. Not keeping pace! These policies aren’t even in place in Canada. There’s no point in pointing fingers or wringing hands; we need to grasp hands and join in leading the way.

It’s no secret that I am intrigued and concerned about the impact of artificial intelligence on public and academic libraries. It’s one of the reasons I’m involved in planning CFLA-FCAB’s first National Forum in Regina on May 2, 2018. Whether you agree that AI will bring significant shifts to the library landscape, you no doubt think about the shifts AI is and will bring to your communities, your life and our campuses and education system. As librarians we have a responsibility to ensure that Canada’s policies and standards shape AI as a positive force in our society.  Sounds grandiose, I know. And yet, since we all agree that libraries are an integral part of our society, then it follows that we have a professional role in the deliberation, creation, implementation and stewardship of policies guiding AI in our society.

Be part of informing the policies for our Canadian library landscape. Be at the National Forum and be prepared to contribute. Oh!! And be prepared to eat too! (Registration includes food 🙂  ) And to hear Mohamed Fahmy