Exploring AI’s impacts at Chicago college – both benefits and dangers.

Chicago Area College Studying Benefits and Dangers of AI


  • Lake Forest College is studying AI from a human perspective using a $1.2 million grant.
  • Professor Schneiderman and his team aim to explore the ethical aspects of AI and its impact on society.

A north suburban college, Lake Forest College, is taking a unique approach to studying artificial intelligence (AI) with the help of a $1.2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation. Professor Schneiderman and his team are looking beyond the technical aspects of AI and focusing on the human perspective, including the implications of AI in creating art.

The team has developed an AI chatbot named Cosimo to assist students in understanding artwork in the school’s Krebs Center for the Humanities. The chatbot provides insights on art pieces, such as the depiction of Moses with horns in traditional art, highlighting the importance of accurate translation in interpreting art.

With a multidisciplinary approach, Schneiderman and his team are examining the ethical aspects of AI, addressing issues of bias and surveillance. As a liberal arts school, Lake Forest College is uniquely positioned to study the societal impacts of AI across various subjects like philosophy, art, and science.

Students at Lake Forest College, such as Sarah Faller and Ethan Karabanow, are eager to engage with AI courses, recognizing the importance of integrating modern technology with humanities education. They emphasize the relevance of understanding AI in today’s society and for future generations.

Professor Schneiderman’s grant will span approximately 3 ½ years, during which he plans to collaborate with organizations like the Chicago History Museum to further explore the implications of AI. While the outcomes of the study are uncertain, Schneiderman views it as a journey of discovery and learning.

This innovative approach to studying AI not only sheds light on the benefits and dangers of the technology but also underscores the importance of incorporating AI education into humanities curricula to stay relevant in a rapidly evolving world.