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Mentoring That Matters

A Model for Engaging the Future of Artificial Intelligence in the Black Community


As I continue hearing more about artificial intelligence, I want to understand this subject better. While I have a sincere desire to know more and to understand artificial intelligence at a deeper level, I also have what I hope can be described as a healthy skepticism to this subject matter as well, what we refer to in religious studies as the hermeneutics of suspicion, a way of interpretation in which products or texts are read with skepticism to expose hidden meanings related to the challenge to believe.

This is why my ears stood to attention when I heard that Operation HOPE and Clark Atlanta University were hosting a particular conversation with ChatGPT Creator and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman to discuss the future of Artificial Intelligence in the Black community.

I agree firmly with John Hope Bryant and Sam Altman that it is essential that we identify now how AI technology can help build a better society to impact the lives of people and communities positively. How can marginalized and underserved communities begin to learn how to integrate AI technology in all areas of life while doing the least harm-socially, mentally, physically, and spiritually? What follows is the news reporting of that event.

ATLANTA, May 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Operation HOPE recently partnered with Clark Atlanta University (CAU) to host two events focused on "The Future of Artificial Intelligence" with Sam Altman, Open AI Founder, and ChatGPT Creator. The conversations were led by Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman, and CEO John Hope Bryant and featured the President of Clark Atlanta University, Dr. George T. French, Jr.

Held on CAU's campus, the first event provided Atlanta's most prominent Black leaders from the public and private sectors an opportunity to engage with Altman and discuss pressing issues around artificial intelligence (AI). The second discussion gave local HBCU and Atlanta-based college students the same opportunity.

Altman, a billionaire tech pioneer, shared how he believes AI can positively impact lives and create new economic opportunities for communities of color, particularly among Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) students. The standing-room-only event included government, technology, nonprofit, education, and creative industry representatives.

In 2015, Altman co-founded OpenAI, a nonprofit artificial intelligence research and deployment company whose mission is "to ensure that artificial general intelligence – highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work– benefits all of humanity." In partnership with Operation HOPE, serial entrepreneur Altman has committed to making AI a force for good by stimulating economic growth, increasing productivity at lower costs, and stimulating job creation.

"The promise of an economic boost via machine learning is understandably seductive, but if we want to ensure AI technology has a positive impact, we must all be engaged early on. With proper policy oversight, I believe it can transform the future of the underserved," said Operation HOPE Chairman, Founder, and CEO John Hope Bryant. "The purpose of this discussion is to discover new ways to leverage AI to win in key areas of economic opportunity such as education, housing, employment, and credit. If it can revolutionize business, it can do the same for our communities."

"Getting this right by figuring out the new society that we want to build and how we want to integrate AI technology is one of the most important questions of our time," Altman said. "I'm excited to have this discussion with a diverse group of people so that we can build something that humanity as a whole wants and needs." 

Throughout the event, Altman and Bryant demystified AI and how modern digital technology is revolutionizing how today's businesses compete and operate. By putting AI and data at the center of their capabilities, companies are redefining how they create, capture, and share value—and are achieving impressive growth as a result. During the Q&A session, they also discussed how government agencies can address AI policies that will lead to more equitable outcomes.

Altman is an American entrepreneur, angel investor, co-founder of Hydrazine Capital, former president of Y Combinator, founder and former CEO of Loopt, and co-founder and CEO of OpenAI. He was also one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2023.

According to recent research by IBM, more than one in three businesses used AI technology in 2022. The report also notes that the adoption rate is exponential, with 42% currently considering incorporating AI into their business processes. Other research suggests that although the public sector is lagging, an increasing number of government agencies are considering or starting to use AI to improve operational efficiencies and decision-making. (McKinsey, 2020)

SOURCE Operation HOPE, Inc.

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