From the sci-fi classic "Bladerunner" to the recent films "Her" and "Ex Machina," pop culture is filled with stories demonstrating our simultaneous fascination with and fear of artificial intelligence (AI). This interest is rooted in questions about where the line between human and artificial intelligence will be, and whether that line might one day disappear. Will robots eventually be able to not only think but also feel and behave like us? Could a robot ever be fully human? It is a relatively new field that started in the 1990s.8 A new multidisciplinary field called developmental robotics is paving the way to some answers.(a)
Understanding an emotion isn't as simple as noticing a smile-- but we still look to facial movements for everything from navigating everyday social interactions to the development of emotionally attuned artificial intelligence. According to a July 2019 study from researchers at Northeastern and the California Institute of Technology, facial expressions only reflect the surface of emotions: The culture, situation, and specific individual around a facial expression add nuance to the way a feeling is conveyed. For example, the researchers note that Olympic athletes who won medals only smiled when they knew they were being watched by an audience. While they were waiting behind the podium or facing away from people, they didn't smile (but were probably still happy). These results reinforce the idea that facial expressions aren't always reliable indicators of emotion.
The increasing attention being paid to artificial intelligence raises important questions about its integration with social sciences and humanity, according to David De Cremer, founder and director of the Centre on AI Technology for Humankind at the National University of Singapore Business School. He is the author of the recent book, Leadership by Algorithm: Who Leads and Who Follows in the AI Era? While AI today is good at repetitive tasks and can replace many managerial functions, it could over time acquire the "general intelligence" that humans have, he said in a recent interview with AI for Business (AIB), a new initiative at Analytics at Wharton. Headed by Wharton operations, information and decisions professor Kartik Hosanagar, AIB is a research initiative that focuses on helping students expand their knowledge and application of machine learning and understand the business and societal implications of AI. According to De Cremer, AI will never have "a soul" and it cannot replace human leadership qualities that let people be creative and have different perspectives. Leadership is required to guide the development and applications of AI in ways that best serve the needs of humans. "The job of the future may well be [that of] a philosopher who understands technology, what it means to our human identity, and what it means for the kind of society we would like to see," he noted. An edited transcript of the interview appears below. AI for Business: A lot is being written about artificial intelligence. What inspired you to write Leadership by Algorithm?
Computers have been pretending to have feelings since the first Macintosh computer screen showed a smiley face on startup back in 1984. Or maybe earlier, if you count Star Wars' R2-D2 and C-3PO (though it took human actors inside to make those feelings come out). Almost as long as people have interacted with machines, they've wanted to have some reassurance that the machines were listening to them. Software designers (and special effects designers, too) used sleight of hand to give the impression of feelings to very early computers. Those "feelings" were exchanged only one way: No one really thought that the early Mac was happy, and it certainly didn't know if the user was smiling back.
Award-winning teen poet Mckalah Jimenez has been writing poetry since she was nine years old, but it became a lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her family was struggling to pay rent, she couldn't focus on her virtual classes, and she hadn't seen her best friend for months. When she felt overwhelmed with anxiety, poetry was a release--a way for her to express her emotions and regain a sense of control. "I was writing more and more, and I came up with poems every single day," says Jimenez, who is currently a junior in high school. "Poetry helped me take my mind off being kept away from the outside world."