NYU and KAIST launch major new initiative on Artificial Intelligence research in partnership with the Republic of Korea

NYU President Linda G. Mills and Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) President Kwang Hyung Lee were joined by Sung Bae Jun, president of the Institute of Information & Communications Technology Planning & Evaluation, and Joon Hee Joh, president of the Korea Software Industry Association in signing an agreement to collaborate on a major Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital technologies research effort.

Senior public officials—including the President of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol; Korea’s Minister of Science and Information and Communications Technology Jong-Ho Lee; the Director of the US National Science Foundation Sethuraman Panchanathan; NYC Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer—and Turing Prize-winning AI scientist and NYU faculty member Yann LeCun convened at NYU’s Greenwich Village campus to mark the new partnership and launch a “Digital Vision Forum” with leading thinkers on AI and digital governance from around the world. Senator Charles Schumer participated in the proceedings via video. The event also importantly marked the anniversary of the first Digital Vision Forum, which was held precisely a year ago at NYU to initiate the partnership between NYU, the Republic of Korea, and KAIST, an event that also featured remarks by President Yoon.

Today’s historic event positions NYU, New York City, and Korea at the forefront of the global science and tech ecosystem of the future. NYU President Mills said, “We are honored to bring together leaders in government, academia, and industry to commemorate a vital and historic partnership that will propel scholarship and advancements in technology. We are thrilled by this partnership, which exemplifies both NYU’s commitment to global learning and research as well as our role in fueling the growth of New York City’s tech, science, and innovation sector.”

Senator Schumer said, “I want to commend President Yoon and my friend, NYU President Linda Mills, on today’s announcement of a historic joint research program between NYU and the South Korean government. The partnership is a partnership made in heaven: NYU, one of the nation’s leading research institutions, and South Korea, one of America’s strongest allies and partners, and also a leader in research and science, collaborating on one of the most important issues of our time, artificial intelligence.”

NSF Director Panchanathan said, “As our two presidents affirmed at the State Visit in April, the U.S. and the Republic of Korea have a truly global alliance that champions democratic principles, enriches economic cooperation, and empowers technological advances. NSF shares in President Yoon’s conviction that human values are important in the development of new technology. Values including openness and transparency, and the creation of AI tools that are responsible and ethical, without bias, and protect the security and privacy of our people.”

The research effort—the ROK Institutions-NYU AI and Digital Partnership—aims to conduct world-class research in AI and digital technologies. The partnership is expected to be headquartered at NYU.

Today’s event marks the expansion of NYU’s previously announced partnership and strengthens the University’s links to Korea and its institutions. The event  included a wide-ranging panel discussion about AI and digital governance by prominent scholars in the field. The panel was moderated by Professor Matthew Liao, director of the Center for Bioethics at NYU’s School of Global Public Health, the panelists included:

  • Professor Kyung-hyun Cho, Deputy Director for NYU Center for Data Science & Courant Institute
  • Professor Luciano Floridi, Founding Director of the Digital Ethics Center, Yale University
  • Professor Urs Gasser, Rector of the Hochschule fur Politik, Technical University of Munich
  • Professor Shannon Vallor, Baillie Gifford Professor in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Stefaan Verhulst, Co-Founder & Director of GovLab’s Data Program, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and
  • Professor Jong Chul Ye, Director of Promotion Council for Digital Health, KAIST

For NYU’s new president, Linda G. Mills, this is the third major global agreement she has signed this month. She earlier signed a research partnership agreement with IIT Kanpur in India (an agreement cited by US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in their joint statement) and renewed a partnership agreement between NYU’s Shanghai campus and East China Normal University. Building on NYU’s unrivaled global presence, strength, and character is expected to be a major priority of her administration.

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