Artificial Intelligence: Public Forum with Keynote Speaker Dean Hougen

Artificial Intelligence: Public Forum with Keynote Speaker Dean Hougen

By: Brittany Payette

At 4 p.m. on Sept. 25 in the CETES Conference Center Dr. Syed Ahmed hosted a public forum
on Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Ahmed is a Professor of Economics and the Director of Bill Burgess Jr. Business Research
Center at Cameron and he said he wanted to have this forum so students could learn more about
“AI is all over,” Ahmed said. “When you turn on the TV, or read the newspaper … I think it’s an
important topic and our students should know the current developments of AI.”
Ahmed said there have been a lot of advancements in AI.
“It will have (a) far reaching impact on our management of day-to-day affairs,” Ahmed said. “on
every sector of the economy, from the healthcare to (the) manufacturing sector. The genie is just
out of the bottle.”
Dr. Dean Hougen, Presidential Professor, Interim Director, and Associate Professor in the School
of Computer Science at the University of Oklahoma, was the keynote speaker.
Hougen named his presentation the disruption engine and he began with a lesson on the history
of AI.
“It was this computer technology in the hands of everyone that really began to make the big
economic impact,” Hougen said.
He said that the uses of computers has greatly increased overtime.
“They’re able to compute, more or less, anything if you have enough memory for it,” he said.
“They’re reprogrammable, meaning individual people or companies can come up with new
things that they want to do with these computers and write the code to make it happen.”
Hougen said that there are different definitions that people use to describe AI, but he has his own
“I define it as the research area dedicated to developing systems capable of performing tasks that
would require intelligence if performed by people,” he said. “It’s a task that it’s doing, that if
people did it, we would say ‘that person’s probably intelligent.’”
Hougen then spoke about a subarea of AI called machine learning.
“You can think of it like mathematics and statistics,” he said. “There is a connection between
machine learning and statistics- they’re both about data and what you can infer from that data.”
Hougen said people tend to have quite a few misconceptions about AI.
“The future is very long,” he said. “What I mean by that, is (that) there are so many people these
days that tend to think ‘oh, I see this big breakthrough, computers are going to do everything, or
AI is going to do everything in 10 years.’ And people have been saying 10 years not for ten
years, for twenty years, for thirty years, for forty years, 50 years.”
Hougen said that AI has a long way to go to become truly intelligent because intelligence is
difficult and convoluted.

“There is going to be advances,” he said. “They are going to change the way that we do things
and we need to think about those changes carefully, so that we can handle those disruptions.”
He said there are issues that arise with AI.
“That’s again one of the problems with these systems,” Hougen said. “They’re not reasoning on
their own, these generative AI’s, they’re synthesizing the information that’s out there, so they’re
limited to what people have already put out there about these topics.”
After the keynote speaker finished with his presentation, he was joined by Lawton mayor Stan
Booker and Cameron Associate Professor Dr. Jawad Drissi for a question and answer panel
Hougen said he would not be studying and developing AI if he did not think it will be beneficial.
“It absolutely has done more good then harm,” he said. “I think that it will continue to do that,
but I don’t think that’s a guarentee, right. I think that we have to make sure we are using it wisely.
I think we need to engage with the social scientists, we need to engage with the political
scientists. We need to make sure that what we’re doing gets used appropriately.”
Booker said he is excited about AI.
“I’m excited because anything that can help us run the city is going to be beneficial for the
Drissi said that AI opens up a lot of possiblities for the future and will bring forth a variety of
“When you change, sometimes you have to change the system itself,” he said. “You cannot keep
the system the same. Perhaps, the technology will force the system to change … No one really
knows, except that they know that artificial intelligence will make a lot of money and they are
pouring money into it.”
Additionally, Drissi said that the AI we currently have is under our control and any ethical issues
that emerge is our problem because we are the ones training and developing AI.
Booker said he likes technology, but that does not mean it is perfect. He also said that there have
been a lot of changes with how we do things on a day-to-day basis that was accelerated by
“More and more people are buying online,” he said. “And convienence wins everytime … Who
does it hurt? The lower trained retail workers.”
Booker also said that
Sophomore Computer Science (CS) major Estella Gilbreth was one of the attendees of the public
“I figured since everybody’s talking about AI all the time anyway, I’d like an expert opinion,”
Gilbreth said. “As opposed to online only.”
Gilbreth said the event was informative in a variety of ways.

“I learned that there are a lot of interested individuals in the community at large,” she said. “Kind
of outside of CS that I wasn’t expecting. I learned a lot about the history of computers that I also
was not expecting to know about and it provided a lot of insight.”
Gilbreth said she wanted to learn more about some of the possible issues with AI.
“Everybody knows that AI can come up with some crazy stuff,” she said. “And, machine
learning definitely has pitfalls, but this gave me some more insight into what those pitfalls are
and how exactly they’re explained and then how we can move forward utilizing them more
Gilbreth said that AI technology has brought forth a multitude of changes in modern society.
“This is not the first time that some new technology on the block has kicked some people to the
curb,” she said. “And, it won’t be the last. The economist need to get more on board with all this
if we’re going to keep people in jobs, but more specifically, the world will keep turning.”
For more information, contact Ahmed at

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