‘We have an obligation to innovate responsibly’

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The first New Jersey Artificial Intelligence (AI) Summit not only convened business leaders, academics and government officials to foster conversations about AI innovation in New Jersey, but also AI in areas of work force development to health.

The summit, which was hosted by Princeton University on campus, in partnership with Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority discussed the future of AI in finance; society; and sustainable energy; future collaborations and the building of an AI hub in Central Jersey.

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“When Gov. Murphy announced the establishment of AI hub back in December this was the type of collaboration we envisioned,” Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber said on April 11. “Leaders coming together from academia, industry and government to foster AI innovation in New Jersey.”

The AI hub advances two of Princeton University’s highest priorities – helping to cultivate a robust regional ecosystem and accelerating AI innovation in education, Eisgruber explained.

“This hub presents an extraordinary opportunity for us to come together and make bold investments that will positively impact the region and state as well as the nation and the world,” he added.

The summit was one of the next steps in the early stages of the AI hub.

“The conversation we have today and the conversations that you share will help shape the plans for the AI hub and the relationships that will build today will create the foundation for collaboration in the months and years to come.”

The governor noted that even though they are still in the very early stages of building the AI hub, the New Jersey AI summit made it clear to him that an AI hub was the right step.

“The point is we are coming together to think ahead about one of the most positive, and promising and potentially disruptive developments in human history,” Murphy said, adding that he wants the state government to be a catalyst for bringing together innovators and leaders alike to unlock a new century of hope.

“We have [an] obligation to innovate responsibly when it comes to this realm. From discovering new drugs and medical treatments, to developing new personalized educational tools that will help every student reach their full potential and everything in between.”

Murphy spotlighted goals of economically establishing the state as an AI industry central point with startups and job creation, and continued use of AI in public services, state departments and agencies, training of public employees.

Brad Smith, vice chairman and president of Microsoft, in his keynote address, compared AI to the “printing press.”

“The interesting thing like the printing press, AI is not a single invention,” he said, noting the single invention of the printing press was not very useful.

“It took advances in paper, in ink, in the foundries to create moveable type, but more than that the printing press created a whole new economy.”

And if “you want to go far and reasonably fast,” real guardrails need to be put into place for AI, Smith said.

“I think it starts by defining principles,” he said.

In December 2023, New Jersey and Princeton University announced a partnership to create and develop the AI hub in Central Jersey for the advancement and exploration of AI.

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.

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