CRAY Colloquium: Well-being, AI, and You: Developing AI-based Technology to Enhance our Well-being

The computer science colloquium takes place on Mondays from 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. This week's speaker, Alon Halevy (Meta), will be giving a talk titled "Well-being, AI, and You: Developing AI-based Technology to Enhance our Well-being."


Many applications claim to enhance our well-being, whether directly by aiding meditation and exercise, or indirectly, by guiding us to our destinations, assessing our sleep quality, or helping us manage our daily tasks. However, the truth is that the potential of technology to improve our well-being often eludes us, and this is happening at the dawn of an era where AI is supposed to usher in a new generation of personalized assistants.  Presently, we find ourselves more distracted than ever, devoting excessive time to pondering life’s minutiae, and struggling to fully embrace the present moment.  

Part of the reason that our well-being is not benefiting fully from technology is the fact that each of these apps focuses on a specific aspect of well-being, lacking coordination with other apps. This situation is reminiscent of the early days of computer programming when each program interacted directly with the computer's hardware. Drawing from this analogy, this talk will begin by describing a set of mechanisms that can facilitate better cooperation between well-being applications, effectively proposing an operating system for well-being. This operating system comprises a data repository, referred to as a personal timeline, which captures your past experiences and future aspirations. It also includes mechanisms for utilizing your personal data to provide improved recommendations and life plans, and, lastly, a module to assist in nurturing and navigating crucial relationships in your life.

The second half of the talk will delve into the technical challenges involved in building the components of the operating system. In particular, we will focus on the creation of your life experiences timeline from the digital data you create on a daily basis. In this context, we will identify opportunities for language models to be a core component on which we build systems for querying personal timelines and for supporting other components of the operating system. In particular, the challenge of answering questions about your timeline raises important challenges in the intersection of large language models and structure data.  


Alon Halevy is a director at Meta’s Reality Labs Research, where he works on Personal Digital Data,  the combination of neural and symbolic techniques for data management and on Human Value Alignment. Prior to Meta, Alon was the CEO of Megagon Labs (2015-2018) and led the Structured Data Group at Google Research (2005-2015), where the team developed WebTables and Google Fusion Tables. From 1998 to 2005 he was a professor at the University of Washington, where he founded the database group. Alon is a founder of two startups, Nimble Technology and Transformic (acquired by Google in 2005). Alon co-authored two books: The Infinite Emotions of Coffee and Principles of Data Integration. In 2021 he received the Edgar F. Codd SIGMOD Innovations Award. Alon is a Fellow of the ACM and a recipient of the PECASE award and Sloan Fellowship. Together with his co-authors, he received VLDB 10-year best paper awards for the 2008 paper on WebTables and for the 1996 paper on the Information Manifold data integration system.

Start date
Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, 11:15 a.m.
End date
Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, 12:15 p.m.