Digital technologies have become part of our everyday lives and are increasingly acting as intermediaries in our workplaces and personal relationships or even substituting them. The Internet of things, social networks, programs that learn by interacting with humans, assistive and companion robots, computer games with a purpose, serious games for social impact, roboadvisors, webs that offer digital immortality… These tools can, in a short time, modify the job market, flip someone's reputation, transform a district, change our relationships --not just at work, but also within our families and close contacts-- or extend what a person leaves behind after dying, which now includes a digital footprint. The growing interaction with'intelligent' machines is not just a further step in the social transformation that started with the industrial revolution. Although these new information technologies do also free humans from repetitive tasks and provide them with more time to spend in creative and enjoyable ways, the difference is that they enter domains previously considered to be exclusive of humans, such as decision-making, emotions and social relationships, which may compromise human values, as well as decisively shape society and our way of life. This poses a series of ethical questions that were not relevant for other types of machines and about which we have no previous experience, nor can we reliably predict how they will ultimately influence the evolution of humankind.
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.