To my faculty and staff colleagues,

In the past year, we have advanced our shared vision of learning and discovery in the age of A.I. We have built networks of experiences that put human abilities, values, and dreams at the center.

And everything we have accomplished has grown and evolved from the essence of who we are and what we value.

Northeastern’s essence is global and multicultural, collaborative and connected, diverse and inclusive—and powered by experience. Northeastern’s essence puts humans at the center.

By infusing humanics—our curriculum that integrates technological, data, and human literacies—into learning, we are preparing people to do what intelligent machines cannot: collaborate, create, and empathize.

By making humanity a central focus of our research, we are ensuring that tomorrow’s discoveries in health, security, and sustainability fulfill human needs and aspirations.

We are empowering humans to work together with intelligent machines. And as we begin a new academic year, I’d like to share the news that we are redoubling our commitment to that critical goal.

Next week, the university will announce the establishment of a new interdisciplinary center for research and learning: the Institute for Experiential A.I.

This new institute, the first of its kind, will focus on enabling artificial intelligence and humans to collaborate interactively around solving problems in health, security, and sustainability. We believe that the true promise of A.I. lies not in its ability to replace humans, but to optimize what humans do best.

To fulfill this promise, the institute will integrate the expertise of up to 50 tenured and tenure-track faculty, research faculty, and post-doctoral researchers, including as many as 30 new hires. They will collaborate across disciplines ranging from digital humanities and law to computer sciences and materials science. Many of these same faculty will prepare new generations of innovators in the field through newly launched degree and certificate programs in experiential A.I.

As many of you know, Northeastern is already pursuing discovery in this field through several of our colleges, and in research centers such as the Institute for Experiential Robotics and the Ethics Institute.

In complementing and expanding on those efforts, the Institute for Experiential A.I. offers Northeastern the opportunity to lead in the development of this century’s most consequential technology.

By putting humans at the center, we will make intelligent machines our partners in cultivating the flourishing communities that the world needs.


Joseph E. Aoun