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Milind Tambe: "AI for Social Good: The Role of Human-Machine Partnership."

Abstract: Discussions about the future negative consequences of AI sometimes drown out discussions of the current accomplishments and future potential of AI in helping us solve complex societal problems. At the USC Center for AI in Society, CAIS, our focus is on advancing AI research and building decision aids in tackling wicked problems in society. This talk will highlight three areas of ongoing work at CAIS and the role of human-machine partnership in this work. First, I will focus on the use of AI for assisting low-resource communities, such as homeless youth. Harnessing the social networks of such youth, I will outline our advances in influence maximization algorithms to help more effectively spread health information, such as for reducing risk of HIV infections. These algorithms have been piloted in homeless shelters in Los Angeles, and have shown significant improvements over traditional methods. Second, I will outline the use of AI for protection of forests, fish, and wildlife; learning models of adversary behavior allows us to predict poaching activities and plan effective patrols to deter them; I will discuss concrete results from tests in a national park in Uganda that have led to removal of snares and arrests of poachers, potentially saving endangered animals. Finally, I will focus on the challenge of AI for public safety and security, specifically for effective security resource allocation. I will also briefly discuss our "security games" framework -- based on computational game theory -- which has led to decision aids that are in actual daily use by agencies such as the US Coast Guard, the US Federal Air Marshals Service and local law enforcement agencies to assist the protection of ports, airports, flights, and other critical infrastructure. I will also highlight a number of other projects at CAIS, outlining the potential for machine learning and the essential role of human-machine partnership in building AI for social good.

Bio: Milind Tambe is Helen N. and Emmett H. Jones Professor in Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) and the Founding Co-Director of CAIS, the USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society, where his research focuses on "AI for Social Good". He is a fellow of AAAI and ACM, as well as recipient of the ACM/SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award, Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation Homeland security award, INFORMS Wagner prize in Operations Research, Rist Prize of the Military Operations Research Society, IBM Faculty Award, Okawa foundation award, RoboCup scientific challenge award, and other awards including the Orange County Engineering Council Outstanding Project Achievement Award, USC Associates award for creativity in research and USC Viterbi use-inspired research award.

Prof. Tambe has contributed several foundational papers in Artificial Intelligence in areas such as intelligent agents and computational game theory; these papers have received over a dozen best paper and influential paper awards at conferences such as AAMAS, IJCAI, IAAI and IVA. In addition, Milind's pioneering real-world deployments of security games has led him and his team to receive meritorious commendations from the US Coast Guard Commandant, LA Airport Police, and the US Federal Air Marshals Service. For his teaching and mentoring Milind has received the USC Steven B. Sample Teaching and Mentoring award; to date he has graduated 26 PhD students and mentored 10 postdocs. Milind has also co-founded a company based on his research, Avata Intelligence, where he serves as the director of research. Prof. Tambe received his Ph.D. from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

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