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AI and gene-editing pioneers to discuss ethics Stanford News

#artificialintelligence

Upon meeting for the first time at a dinner at Stanford earlier this year, Fei-Fei Li and Jennifer Doudna couldn't help but note the remarkable parallels in their experiences as scientists. Stanford's Fei-Fei Li and Jennifer Doudna of UC Berkeley will discuss the ethics of artificial intelligence and CRISPR technology. Both women helped kickstart twin revolutions that are profoundly reshaping society in the 21st century – Li in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and Doudna in the life sciences. Both revolutions can be traced back to 2012, the year that computer scientists collectively recognized the power of Li's approach to training computer vision algorithms and that Doudna drew attention to a new gene-editing tool known as CRISPR-Cas9 ("CRISPR" for short). Both pioneering scientists are also driven by a growing urgency to raise awareness about the ethical dangers of the technologies they helped create.


Cracking the Code on Biology

Communications of the ACM

Genetic engineering promises to revolutionize everything from agriculture and biofuels to medicine and food safety. As scientists look to unravel the secrets of life and address a diverse array of challenges involving medicine, agriculture, and more, they increasingly are tossing aside their test tubes and microscopes and diving directly into the genome. Over the last decade, synthetic biology has emerged as an intriguing, if not remarkable, tool that could fundamentally change the world. The nascent concept, based on creating new sequences of DNA from scratch and rearranging existing ones, already is being used to mimic biological systems, create synthetic biological systems, and actually program biological systems. It is no small matter.


AI Dangers

Communications of the ACM

In January 2015, a host of prominent figures in high tech and science and experts in artificial intelligence (AI) published a piece called "Research Priorities for Robust and Beneficial Artificial Intelligence: An Open Letter," calling for research on the societal impacts of AI. Unfortunately, the media grossly distorted and hyped the original formulation into doomsday scenarios. Nonetheless, some thinkers do warn of serious dangers posed by AI, tacitly invoking the notion of a Technological Singularity (first suggested by Good8) to ground their fears. According to this idea, computational machines will improve in competence at an exponential rate. They will reach the point where they correct their own defects and program themselves to produce artificial superintelligent agents that far surpass human capabilities in virtually every cognitive domain.


3 Technologies Will Utterly Transform Your World in the Next Decade

#artificialintelligence

Because all of the low-hanging scientific and technological fruit has supposedly been plucked. You can invent broad technologies like electrification, the light bulb, plumbing and sanitation, the telephone, refrigeration, the internal combustion engine, and the digital computer only once. Therefore most new technologies will consist of slight improvements on the old ones and that will not propel future economic growth. But have all broad technologies really been invented already? Below are three core technologies whose elaborations during the next decade will conjure into existence a world with far less transactional friction, amazing cures, and much smarter machines.


3 Technologies Will Utterly Transform Your World in the Next Decade

#artificialintelligence

Because all of the low-hanging scientific and technological fruit has supposedly been plucked. You can invent broad technologies like electrification, the light bulb, plumbing and sanitation, the telephone, refrigeration, the internal combustion engine, and the digital computer only once. Therefore most new technologies will consist of slight improvements on the old ones and that will not propel future economic growth. But have all broad technologies really been invented already? Below are three core technologies whose elaborations during the next decade will conjure into existence a world with far less transactional friction, amazing cures, and much smarter machines.