This article is co-authored with Jonathan Wong, Chief of Technology & Innovation, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). Electronic medical records are examined by a doctor, a demonstration of remote medicine. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution evolves, frontier technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are reshaping our economies, societies and the environment. AI is opening up economic opportunities with companies large and small empowered to grow their businesses. From a social perspective, AI provides a host of benefits.
I grew up during the 80s and 90s, the kind of kid who built his own computers late into the night and heard the dial-up modem's tones as my personal anthem. During this time of great promise in mankind's technological potential I remember watching early documentaries on artificial intelligence (AI). My experiences as a software programmer, patent-holding inventor and successful entrepreneur during the past three decades were fueled by this wide-eyed optimism of my youth. I still draw upon that feeling daily, but more than ever we need to see past it if we are to create the best possible future for AI, a technology I believe that will transform the world as we know it. As more people are connected online, it is more obvious than ever that such blind optimism is as anachronistic as a five and a quarter inch floppy.
Businesses, academia, civil societies, human rights activists, labour movements, non-profit organisations, SMMEs, legal fraternity, women and youth organisations have signed an Expression of Interest (EoI). The EoI provides a platform for cooperation and leverages the collective strengths, insights, knowledge and thought leadership of multiple stakeholders for the realisation of AI benefits. The EoI, signed yesterday at the AI Dialogue South Africa that took place virtually, will promote the responsible use of AI and establish an ethical framework with regulation and standards in mind while allaying many of the fears associated with the technology. "The past few weeks have shown how AI is at risk of being biased and manipulated," says Andile Ngcaba, chairman of Convergence Partners. "Facial recognition has come under fire recently for mass surveillance, racial profiling and violations of basic human rights. Large corporations have also pulled plugs off their facial recognition missions. "These inherent personal and environmental biases need discussion and options need to be considered.
Suresh Venkatasubramanian (University of Utah), Nadya Bliss (Arizona State University), Helen Nissenbaum (Cornell University), and Melanie Moses (University of New Mexico) Overview Long gone are the days when computing was the domain of technical experts. We live in a world where computing technology--especially artificial intelligence--permeates every aspect of our daily lives, playing a significant role in augmenting and even replacing human decision-making in a broad range of situations. AIenabled technologies can adjust to your child's level of understanding by processing a pattern of mistakes; AI systems can leverage combinations of sensor inputs to choose and carry out braking actions in your car; web browsers with AI capabilities can reason from past observations of your searches to recommend a new cuisine in a new location. Innovations in AI have focused primarily on the questions of "what" and "how"--algorithms for finding patterns in web searches, for instance--without adequate attention to the possible harms (such as privacy, bias, or manipulation) and without adequate consideration of the societal context in which these systems operate. As a result of this tight technical focus, and the rapid, worldwide explosion in its use, AI has come with a storm of unanticipated socio-technical problems, ranging from algorithms that act in racially or gender-biased ways, get caught in feedback loops that perpetuate inequalities, or enable unprecedented behavioral monitoring surveillance that challenges the fundamental values of free, democratic societies.