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Finding Experts in A.I.

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June 20, 2023

Aspen Digital

How to use this guide

This primer compiles resources to help journalists, policymakers, and others find experts in artificial intelligence (AI). Resources include a list of common roles in the field of AI, a list of directories of experts from nonprofits and computing organizations, and a list of major AI conferences. 

For information about AI or generative AI specifically, please see AI 101 and Intro to Generative AI, respectively, or visit Emerging Tech Primers to see all primers.

Common roles in AI

Developing AI systems typically involves many different people who play different roles in the process. This list includes information about several common roles you may encounter:

Software engineers and developers work on producing software, which often means programming computer applications that can be used by companies to deliver services (B2B or “business-to-business”) or for direct consumer use (B2C or “business-to-consumer”). These people might be responsible for incorporating machine learning into a product or service for a customer or for building interfaces for people to interact with existing or off-the-shelf AI systems. 

Data scientists use a variety of computational techniques, including machine learning, to identify patterns or meaningful insights in large datasets. These people are often employed by companies to make recommendations on business decisions, but they also exist in nonprofits and academia as well.

Policy professionals who work on AI issues often have legal expertise and focus on the interplay between technology, legal systems, and corporate policies. A policy professional may (but often does not) have computer science training or software engineering experience, but they are frequently involved in defining the constraints and requirements for the technologies that companies build.

Product managers are responsible for defining the design requirements for a product, often through close relationships with customers (which may be individuals, businesses, or even government entities). These people might be responsible for scoping what a machine learning tool needs to be capable of for a client. (Sometimes project managers share these responsibilities.)

Directories of Experts

Computing organizations and nonprofits offer media kits and directories of experts to journalists.

SciLine
sciline.org
A philanthropy-funded organization that connects reporters with science experts and helps science experts amplify their expertise.
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
acm.org/media-center
A professional association of educators, researchers, and professionals focused on computer science research and innovation, which can connect media with members at media-center@acm.org.
IEEE
ieee.org/about/news/media-kit/media-kit-index.html
The world’s largest technical professional organization, which can connect media outlets with members who work in consumer electronics, robotics, cloud computing, and more.
Women in AI Ethics
womeninaiethics.org/directory
A fiscally sponsored project of the nonprofit Social Good Fund, which provides a directory of women who are experts in AI ethics.

Notable Conferences

Conference agendas and event proceedings documents contain names and often contact information for experts. Conferences typically include press pass options, which can be an effective way to meet and connect with experts directly.

Academic Conferences

Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS)

An annual interdisciplinary academic conference known as one of the premier research conferences for the AI field with a wide range of experts largely focused on machine learning.

Machine Learning

Generative AI

Reinforcement Learning

Ethics

Health

International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML)

A premier annual international conference largely dedicated, like NeurIPS, to machine learning.

Machine Learning

Generative AI

Reinforcement Learning

Ethics

Health

ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, & Transparency (FAccT)

A major interdisciplinary conference focused on AI ethics.

Ethics

Privacy

Governance

Human-Computer Interaction

IEEE/CVF Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference (CVPR)

A major conference focused on computationally processing and analyzing visual information.

Machine Learning

Graphics

Generative AI

Autonomous Driving

AR & VR

IEEE Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)

A major conference focused on robotics including machinery, vehicles, and soft robotics.

Robotics

Reinforcement Learning

Human-Computer Interaction

Simulation

Autonomous Driving

ACM’s Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (ACM SIGGRAPH)

A major conference focused on computer graphics, including those used in film, gaming, virtual reality, and simulation.

Graphics

Simulation

Human-Computer Interaction

Robotics

AR & VR

ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI)

A major conference focused on how people interface and interact with computers with emphasis on psychology, ergonomics, and user experience. (CHI is pronounced ‘kai.’)

Human-Computer Interaction

Accessibility

Privacy

Ethics

Health

Industry Conferences

Consumer Electronic Show (CES)

A major industry expo showcasing new products and technologies.

Robotics

AR & VR

Health

Autonomous Driving

Accessibility

South by Southwest (SXSW) Creative Industries Expo

Part of the SXSW technology, film, culture, and music expo focused on business and technology.

Startups

AR & VR

Health

Generative AI

Civil Society Conferences

RightsCon

A major conference on human rights in the digital age.

Ethics

Governance

Privacy

Information Integrity

Mozilla Festival (MozFest)

A conference focused on digital rights, governance, and activism.

Ethics

Governance

Privacy

Information Integrity

Acknowledgements

This work was produced by Eleanor Tursman, B Cavello, and Tom Latkowski, and was made possible thanks to generous support from Siegel Family Endowment, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Finding Experts in AI © 2023 by Aspen Digital is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.