November 24, 2020

Purdue scholars explore artificial intelligence for community well-being

WEST LAFAYETTE, IND. – A publication headed by a Purdue administrator is contributing information via a journal’s special issue on artificial intelligence  and well-being related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The issue is temporarily free to public download.

Titled “Intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Community Well-Being,” the issue will appear in the journal International Journal of Community Well-Being. Purdue’s Honors College is the home to this journal, published by Springer, an international academic publisher, and in conjunction with the Global Community Institute at Seoul National University. Several prominent voices have contributed to the issue, which will be free until the end of the year. The authors include experts from Google and Facebook, as well as academic scholars, exploring AI applications, ranging from caregiving to impacts on Indigenous communities to land and urban development.

The publication features two Purdue connections. Rhonda Phillips, dean of the Honors College, is co-editor-in-chief. Jason Ware, clinical assistant professor in the Honors College, is managing editor. Issues of community well-being are a focus in the research of both scholars.

"Community well-being is an interdisciplinary concept that scholars and practitioners use to explore and operationalize varying factors that contribute to our liking, feeling safe and taking pride in our communities. Community well-being explores the collective aspects of neighborhoods, towns, and cities, as well as the extent to which individual well-being connects to broader societal considerations," says Ware, who teaches well-being courses providing opportunities for students to conduct applied research projects in Purdue’s host community and beyond.

Phillips said, “Purdue is a place where researchers come together to create innovative solutions to not only take the next giant leap, but leverage discovery for the maximum possible good. For that reason, we will continuously look at new ways of incorporating AI and other tools into teaching, learning and living, as well as ethical aspects of use. This special issue - intersecting AI with the field of community well-being - is an exciting complement to these efforts. This is an emerging field with immense practical relevance as communities are facing social and wellness challenges of a pandemic.”

“With the pandemic, we rely more and more on technology and AI for our well-being; everything from work, creativity and connection to shopping for food and spending leisure time,” said Laura Musikanski, executive director of the nonprofit Happiness Alliance, based in Seattle.  Happiness Alliance is an internationally known organization for its work in happiness, quality of life and well-being.

Musikanski, serving as a guest editor of the special issue, said, “The intent of this special issue is to realize a present and future where AI benefits our well-being. This is crucial today, because if we do not intentionally study and take action, it will hurt our lives and communities when its use is motivated primarily by profit.”

The issue will be released in mid-December, and is accessible at the journal webpage.  After Dec. 31, it will no longer be available for free download but will be available for purchase. 

Writer: Logan Judy

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