Stephen A. Schwarzman's £150 million ($191 million) foundational gift to Oxford University might be the university's largest since the Renaissance, but it is focused on the future.
The landmark gift from the chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone Group LP will create a humanities hub — the Schwarzman Centre — that will house Oxford's new Institute for Ethics in AI to study the ethical implications of artificial intelligence and other new computing technologies.
"The more I've learned about AI, the more aware I am of the need to balance technological advancement with thoughtful consideration of its impact on society," Mr. Schwarzman said in an email. "We face fundamental questions about how to ensure that technological advancements benefit all — especially those most vulnerable to the radical changes AI will bring to the nature of the workforce."
Institutions like Oxford can help society frame the debate and help governments, the media and other organizations create a "framework for the responsible development, introduction and regulation of new technologies," he said.
The Schwarzman Centre will be home to Oxford's humanities programs, including English, history, linguistics, medieval and modern languages, music, philosophy, and theology and religion. It will also have new performing arts and exhibition venues.
"The new Schwarzman Centre will ... enable Oxford to remain at the forefront of both research and teaching while demonstrating the critical role the humanities will play in helping human society navigate the technological changes of the 21st century," said Louise Richardson, vice chancellor of the university, in a written statement.