Science for Social Good

‘Show and Tell’ Helps AI Agent Align with Societal Values

As AI-powered autonomous agents play an increasingly large role in society, we must ensure that their behavior aligns with societal values. To this end, we developed a novel technique for training an AI agent to operate optimally in a given environment while following implicit constraints on its behavior. Our strategy incorporates a bottom-up (or demonstration-based) […]

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Machine Learning Can Treat Brain Disorders Where They Most Often Occur

About one-third of the total disease burden in developing countries results from brain disorders such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, and depression. These neuropsychiatric disorders are prevalent in low- to middle-income countries due to various factors, e.g. difficult births, malnutrition, and exposure to infectious diseases and toxins. Around 80 percent of the world’s epilepsy occurs in low- […]

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New research shows link between agrochemicals and risk of parasitic disease

Farmers worldwide face mounting pressure to increase agricultural yields to keep up with human population growth. Consequently, chemical use is on the rise – in many cases a cocktail of chemicals, from fertilizers to herbicides to insecticides. But in countries where human population growth is highest, including China, South East Asia and South America, these […]

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Charity Models Supply Chain Performance with IBM

I’ve always sought out challenging applied research problems and am particularly attracted to applications of technology in the social sector. That’s why I was thrilled to work on a supply chain-focused project with the non-profit organization St. John’s Bread & Life (SJBL) within IBM’s Science for Social Good program in 2017. Based in Brooklyn, SJBL […]

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Tapping Machine Learning to Foster Greater Use of Biomimicry for Innovation

Knowledge transfer across domains leads to significant breakthroughs in science and technology. For example, through biomimicry, innovators get inspiration from nature/biology to solve complex engineering problems. An exciting example of biomimicry is the recent creation of artificial materials that imitate the surface of cicada’s wings and gecko’s skin, which have antibacterial properties due to their […]

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AI-based financial advisor for low-wage workers

Workers with lower-than-median wages are often prone to financial instability and affected by bank policies such as penalty and overdraft fees, leading to a vicious cycle of debt and poor credit. During 2016 alone, banks made over $30 billion from overdraft fees. The workers with the least financial cushion are typically the most vulnerable in […]

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Demystifying Social Entrepreneurship: A Data-Driven Approach

Social enterprises present solutions to major social challenges such as climate change, global inequities, educational gaps, and many others through social innovation[1]. In fact, social enterprises attract a growing amount of talent, with an estimated 3.2{ccf696850f4de51e8cea028aa388d2d2d2eef894571ad33a4aa3b26b43009887} (global average) of adults between 18 to 64 attempting to start a social enterprise[2].  However, many get lost early […]

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