‘We want to plant a flag’

State, Princeton University announce regional artificial intelligence innovation hub

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New Jersey and Princeton University are partnering to create an artificial intelligence (AI) hub in the Central Jersey region for the advancement and exploration of AI.

Gov. Phil Murphy and Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber announced the partnership and establishment of a regional AI innovation hub at East Pyne Hall on campus on Dec. 18.

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“That hub will bring together AI researchers, industry leaders, startup companies and other collaborators to foster AI innovation in central New Jersey,” Eisgruber said.

“It will enable leading experts to come together to focus on the development and innovation of AI techniques, applications and hardware as well as the societal implications of AI such as policy, education, and workforce development.”

Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber (center) announces partnership with state in establishing artificial intelligence hub in central New Jersey.
Photo by Andrew Harrison

As an integrative hub for AI activity, the new regional hub would not only include companies, industry leaders and startups, but other New Jersey education institutions such as Rutgers University and community colleges to further drive collaboration and research.

“I think we are in agreement on this, we each decided to publish this before there was a very specific structure, because we want to plant a flag and say artificial intelligence is here to stay in partnership with Princeton University,” Murphy said.

A serious discussion about establishing a regional innovation hub for AI occurred during the course of 2023. Eisgruber added, “Happened very rapidly.”

Over the next weeks and months, Murphy expressed that he expects that a process of talent, entities, companies and startups will begin to come together for the hub.

“Beyond the enormous economic potential of this space in the form of new ventures or jobs for our workers, we have an opportunity to transform the way we live for the better,” Murphy noted.

“This hub will aim to bring us together to explore the possibilities of this technology. Not for the benefit of a small group of stakeholders, but for everyone’s benefit.”

Princeton and the state will host an inaugural convening on AI at Princeton University on April 11.

The conference is set to bring leaders from academia, industry and government, who will discuss the most pressing AI issues being faced today.

“… [The conference] would provide another landmark as we move along,” Eisgruber said. “What this enables us to do with this announcement today is to move even more seriously into the planning phases and build on what we are already doing.”

This year, Princeton University established the Princeton Language and Intelligence Initiative to develop fundamental understanding of AI models and enable their application to research and educate.

Additionally, the university has had in place the Center for Information Technology Policy, a tech policy center and Princeton Precision Health, which is an initiative for AI and data-science focused on healthcare.

“I think as we move forward in AI, we have to be aware of the extraordinary upside and possibilities [of AI] and we have to be aware of the risks,” Eisgruber added.

In October, the state launched a Task Force on AI to study AI technologies.

Murphy explained that the state is committed to training all state employees on generative AI and will examine how government workers can harness AI to improve the delivering of public service.

“[This center] will accelerate and sharpen the focus on everything we do related to artificial intelligence,” he said.

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