Campus news in brief

Valene Mezmin Apr 30, 2017

**Professor David Danks of Carnegie Mellon has been named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow **

David Danks, the L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology and head of the Department of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon, has been named one of the 35 new 2017 Andrew Carnegie Fellows by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

“The Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program is designed to support scholarship that brings fresh perspectives from the social sciences and humanities to the social, political, and economic problems facing the United States and the world today,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York.

As a fellow, Danks will receive a $200,000 stipend to conduct research. Danks will use this stipend to explore human trust in the age of autonomous technologies.

Danks, a leading expert in the ethics of artificial intelligence, believes that a structure must be established to guide the use, assess the impacts, and develop policies and regulations about autonomous technologies.

“Trust is critical for human flourishing, both in our relationships with others and our use of technologies. But these relations of trust face diverse challenges and opportunities because of the introduction and proliferation of autonomous technologies,” Danks said. “I’m grateful to Carnegie Corporation of New York for their support as we start the work toward providing a systematic conceptual framework and principles for understanding the potential and actual impacts of autonomous systems on this key aspect of our personal, social and political lives.”

**Carnegie Mellon hosts the Pennsylvania Special Olympics for the second year **

On April 29, over 600 Special Olympians competed in the Pennsylvania Special Olympics Western Sectional Spring Games, hosted by Carnegie Mellon University for the second consecutive year. Activities included basketball, track and field, swimming, tennis, and golf.

“It has been so inspiring to see our entire university community embrace the Special Olympic Games as a way to demonstrate our core values of respect and inclusion for people of all abilities,” said Provost Farnam Jahanian.

Tim Spence, one of the competing special athletes and a member of the planning committee, believes that, without Special Olympics, his life would be dull. “When I give speeches, I say that my life would be like a black and white photo without Special Olympics,” Spence said in a university press release. “Special Olympics gives me something to look forward to, goals to work toward and confidence that I will succeed.”

Carnegie Mellon University Police held various fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for the Special Olympics, such as the Polar Plunge, an annual event where members of police departments and organizations take a winter dip into the Ohio River. Jahanian and six university deans also participated in ‘Dunk-A-Dean’ at this year’s Spring Carnival to raise funds for Special Olympics.

“I am particularly proud to have joined forces with CMU Police in the Carnival Dunk Tank again this year to raise money and awareness for this event — it was an honor to get dunked for such a worthy cause!” Jahanian said in the press release.