3 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 299 2019 What Do Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Ethics of AI Mean in the Context of Research Libraries? Mary Lee Kennedy, Executive Director, Association of Research Libraries The Context The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) seeks to understand and engage the research library community and others in the research and learning ecosystem on the ethical implications of AI in the context of knowledge production, dissemination, and preservation. Furthermore, it seeks to inform the adoption of AI in research library operations, to help shape the research library workforce, and to advise and, as appropriate, help catalyze the services and programs that research libraries offer. With so much underway in the field of AI, there is a need for research libraries to act, starting with clarifying AI ethics policies, principles, and practices. This issue of Research Library Issues (RLI) opens up a conversation that ARL will continue to focus on in partnerships, and in formal and informal forums, particularly in the context of advocacy and public policy, institutional policies, research and learning community practices, and leadership development. For the purpose of this issue of RLI, artificial intelligence is “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.”1 “Artificial intelligence” is not a new term. The first use of the term is attributed to John McCarthy at the 1956 Dartmouth Conference.2 The concept of machine thinking is often attributed to Vannevar Bush’s seminal work in 1945, “As We May Think,” summarized so well by the editor as a paper that “calls for a new relationship between thinking man and the sum of our knowledge” [emphasis added].3 And, Alan Turing is well known for his work during the Second World War on Enigma and the Bombe machine in laying the groundwork for machine learning.
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