Artificial Intelligence is transforming the world at a rapid and accelerating pace, offering huge potential, but also posing social and economic challenges. Human beings are naturally fearful of machines – this is a constant. Technological advancements tend to outpace cultural shifts. It has taken the shock of a global pandemic to accelerate the uptake of many technologies that have been around for at least a decade. Unsurprisingly, much of the public discussion on AI has focused on recent controversies around facial recognition, automated decision-making and exam algorithms.
Decades of research in artificial intelligence (AI) have produced formidable technologies that are providing immense benefit to industry, government, and society. AI systems can now translate across multiple languages, identify objects in images and video, streamline manufacturing processes, and control cars. The deployment of AI systems has not only created a trillion-dollar industry that is projected to quadruple in three years, but has also exposed the need to make AI systems fair, explainable, trustworthy, and secure. Future AI systems will rightfully be expected to reason effectively about the world in which they (and people) operate, handling complex tasks and responsibilities effectively and ethically, engaging in meaningful communication, and improving their awareness through experience. Achieving the full potential of AI technologies poses research challenges that require a radical transformation of the AI research enterprise, facilitated by significant and sustained investment. These are the major recommendations of a recent community effort coordinated by the Computing Community Consortium and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence to formulate a Roadmap for AI research and development over the next two decades.