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Firefly generated image of a woman working on a model with a tiny robot

“Artificial intelligence has set our world spinning. But, as I tell my kids, if you like problem-solving, you are living at the best possible time,” said Cornell University IT Director of Strategy and Innovation Rebecca Joffrey.

“The rapid evolution of generative AI has only strengthened my belief. We are seeing an explosion of new and publicly accessible applications and tools to help us solve problems more quickly and efficiently than ever before. As members of the Cornell community, we should be asking ourselves: Where can AI have the greatest impact, and how can we harness this technology to address our most pressing needs?”

She is enthusiastic about exploring some of these possibilities during the all-day Emerging Tech Dialogues: Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education event to be held May 29, 2024 in the Statler Hotel and online.

Shortly after the arrival of Chief Information Officer Ben Maddox, Cornell IT launched an experimentation framework in response to the community’s requests for a safe space in which to explore AI applications.

Joffrey said, “Since March, we have received more than 200 requests for products, consultations, or expert support and I have already seen some amazing applications and experiments come to life, from the recent launch of Microsoft Copilot to a knowledge graph that can use AI to help predict energy savings.”

Maddox encourages Cornell faculty, staff, researchers, and students to join the AI brainstorming and he is hosting the May 29 event to create a gathering space for that purpose. He also recruited two keynote speakers who are academic leaders as well as advocates of entrepreneurship and technology innovation: Kavita Bala, Dean of Cornell Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, and Clay Shirky, New York University Vice Provost for AI and Technology.

Although the symposium is offered in a hybrid venue, Joffrey plans to participate on campus so she can chat in person with presenters, break-out session facilitators, and other attendees.

“What I want most is to see people sharing their excitement and ideas with each other, maybe even find collaborators. After the Emerging Tech Dialogues: Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education event, we will launch a series called Demo Days, where Ithaca, Cornell Tech and Weill Cornell Medicine community members can showcase their experiments and projects. For example, we could have a Demo Day focused on chatbots or one focused on the theme of ‘fairness.’”

Spend the day on campus with Joffrey and your friends and colleagues. While the Statler Hotel conference space can hold up to 700 people, in person registration closes May 17, due to the Statler Hotel’s catering deadlines. Register soon.



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