In an article written for WeForum.org by Mary Cummings, Director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory at Duke University and and co-chair of the Global Future Council on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, we get an insight into what AI potentially will look like in 2030.
The first question raised address the reason why we should care about artificial intelligence, and Cummings justifies it by saying how AI now is “all around”. Given its ubiquity, it is essential that we start addressing the strengths as well as limitations to this technology, she says, as it is here to stay.
In terms of technological breakthroughs, Cummings highlights data analytics and IBM’s Watson in particular, deeming it an important leap in the development of AI. However, she emphasises that people often confuse this leap with machine intelligence and the way we think of intelligence for humans, which is simply not true.
Cummings believes that despite having seen big leaps in data analytics, and this being very important, it also leaves a lot of room for humans to assist these systems.
“I think the wave of the future is the collaboration of humans and these artificial intelligence technologies”, Cummings says.
The w0rld-leading expert was asked how she sees AI and robotics changing our society and us, and she believes that essentially this technology is making us smarter as it enables us to use computers to search databases in ways that we never have before.
This development is essential in industries like healthcare, as machine learning techniques could give us a better understanding of what symptoms leads to certain diseases, etc. Cummings does however mentions that we are far from an AI that is as smart as people want it to be. There is still a lot of work to do, but it will develop over the coming years.
In terms of ethical implications, Cummings says that it is essential that the decision logic that are programmed into systems is what we consider ethical, and then ensuring that the sensors are able to detect the world as it is. She emphasise that we are nowhere near allowing robots to release weapons as their ability to detect a target with a high degree certainty, is not good enough anyways.
Cummings also mentions the issue of driver-less cars, where Google has programmed an algorithm to ensure that the car hits a building before hitting a person. She says that it is interesting to look at this idea of utilitarianism, saying:
“Should we go for the greater good, or should we work from the respect for persons approach? Why is it that a pedestrian gets a higher priority than me having to be slammed into a building?”
She believes that there is a difference for humans in terms of accepting the fact that we can get hit by another human being, whereas if it was a machine, it crosses an “imaginary boundary”, as if the machine actually decides to choose a life over another.
Lastly, Cummings is asked to what extent she believes regulations and governance is keeping up with the pace of new technologies, and what she believes needs to be done?
In the United States the regulatory agencies have not kept up with the pace of the technology, according to Cummings. The problem is also getting worse as the government is no longer able to hire people who have an understanding of how these systems operate “under the hood”, as these systems are now mainly software-driven.
Cummings believes that the regulatory environment will eventually become more and more contentious, saying: “For physics-based systems, like a new physical bomb, we can test that; we understand what the mechanisms are, we can have inspection teams go in. But with software, it is actually very difficult to understand whether or not code is safe and how it works”.
As AI-systems never perform in the same manner twice, despite being under the exact same conditions, it is hard to figure out a way of testing that. “How do we know there are any guarantees of safety? This is going to become a thornier issue as we go forward”, Cummings says.
So where does Cummings see us in 2030? How will we see the impact of AI and robotics on our lives?
On the whole, Cummings believes that we will live in an improved world, sharing the benefits of smarter homes, improvement in medicine-research and driver-less car markets providing local transportation options.
However, she emphasise that we need to address the issue of job displacement, as she predicts a global shift in low-wage, low-skilled jobs. She believes that in 2030 we will see a much bigger debate about what to do with people who require re-training.
There will also be a higher demand for people who are specialised within the AI-field, leaving companies to consider how they can get their hands on the professionals that are essential for their industry to succeed.
This article was first published at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/11/this-is-what-artificial-intelligence-will-look-like-in-2030?utm_content=buffer0bcba&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer