09 Dec 2016

K&L Gates Endowment to Study Ethical Issues Posed by Artificial Intelligence

Global law firm K&L Gates LLP has made a $10 million gift to establish the K&L Gates Endowment for Ethics and Computational Technologies and other endowed funds at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).


Most of the gift will be used to support the university in furthering scientific and scholarly research and education about the ethical and policy issues that arise from advances in artificial intelligence and other computational technologies. The gift will allow for the creation of new faculty positions and doctoral fellowships, as well as a biennial conference, specifically:

  • New endowed chairs to support a senior and a junior faculty member; 
  • Three named Presidential fellowships for doctoral students who work in the field of ethics and computational technologies; and 
  • A biennial international conference to share new research and scholarship, as well as offer a forum for academics and policymakers on critical issues and educate the public. 

Peter J. Kalis, K&L Gates Chairman and Global Managing Partner, said: “Law and technology converge at a profoundly important and signature 21st century challenge: how to define ethical boundaries surrounding the emergence of artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge computational technologies. I am extraordinarily proud that K&L Gates is making this major investment in CMU, a global leader in computational technologies.”

Kalis continued: “As a society, our ethical choices in this field will greatly influence what kind of world we will have. Its values. Its culture. Its laws. And, ultimately, its humanity. With this initiative, we honor not only our longstanding relationship with CMU, but also the commitment of both organizations to our civilization now and in the future.”

In addition, the gift will endow two funds for undergraduate students:

  • A K&L Gates Presidential Scholarship Fund to recognize students’ outstanding achievements and potential for further excellence; and 
  • A new, annual K&L Gates Prize to be awarded at commencement to the graduating CMU senior who has best inspired his or her fellow students to embrace a love of learning through a combination of intellect, high scholarly achievement, character, and engagement with others. 

“We are deeply grateful to K&L Gates for this generous support,” said Carnegie Mellon President Subra Suresh. “It is not just technology that will determine how this century unfolds. Our future will also be influenced strongly by how humans interact with technology, how we foresee and respond to the unintended consequences of our work, and how we ensure that technology is used to benefit humanity, individually and as a society.”

“By its history and its current leadership in these fields, Carnegie Mellon is uniquely positioned to examine these questions, and make lasting contributions. This gift will help propel our momentum in this critical work,” Suresh said.



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