More than 150 UCLA faculty, staff, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students attended or tuned in to the livestream of Research in the Age of AI Symposium, which was held Feb. 15 at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA.

“This is really going to change the way we do things,” said Roger Wakimoto, vice chancellor of research at UCLA, referring to generative artificial intelligence in his opening remarks. “It’s like a speeding train that everyone is trying to hop onto. Some people are scared … but others have been really excited and have embraced AI and its future potential. I find it truly amazing that you simply blink and there’s an entirely new development that has come out of this field.”

The all-day symposium, presented by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activity, the DataX Initiative, the Institute for Digital Research & Education and the Office for Advanced Research Computing, allowed speakers from across campus to give their perspectives on the role of AI in academic research and question its impact through multiple lenses.

Through multidisciplinary panel discussions and lightning talks, they explored the fundamentals of intelligence and artificial intelligence, and covered topics including the use of AI in research to prevent homelessness, predict landslides and understand human genetic diseases. The final panel, “Data Justice,” focused on the current and potential harms and biases of AI and offered ideas on how to move forward responsibly with new technologies.

“It was clearly the right time to bring together faculty and other academics doing cutting-edge (research) from across campus to educate one another on methods, tools and services that are available to the UCLA community,” said Susan Swarts, administrative director of DataX. “There was a lot of energy at all the sessions, and many valuable connections and reconnections were made throughout the day.”