If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
If you think about the future of computers, you cannot avoid artificial intelligence . And whoever thinks about the past of the computer, actually not -- the dream of the thinking machine can already be found in the ancient Greeks. But the time of the legends seems to be over: Artificial intelligence is everywhere today. But what is it that we call AI today? And how does it work? One of the founding fathers of artificial intelligence, John McCarthy, described AI as "the science and technology of producing intelligent machines", ie as a field of activity for researchers and engineers.
Every year I travel the world as part of my job to discover, discuss and share the future with people from all walks of life. And what I found is this: the future is likely to be better than we think – but we need to design and govern it wisely! Just two decades in, the twenty-first century has already presented us with a massive economic crash, geopolitical quagmires and worrisome swings towards popularism. This may not be the optimal context for heralding a New Renaissance - but then again, the original renaissance wasn't born in idyllic circumstances either. Rather, it was a literal rebirth of human culture.
When I first processed the news that Ron Howard was directing a feature adaptation of Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance's 2016 memoir, I made it my personal mission to see the movie. Given the book's reputation, I was expecting a sensitive portrait of Appalachia that drew from Vance's childhood memories to offer insights into the lives of the white working class. Instead, I was faced with perhaps the most catastrophically misguided work of pop sociology ever committed to film. I didn't even make it to the hour mark before I had to shut everything down in disgust, because 49 minutes into the movie, Mamaw (Glenn Close), the fierce but tender matriarch of the Vance family, offers young J.D. the following advice: Everyone in this world is one of three kinds: a good Terminator, a bad Terminator, or neutral. I have always known that coastal elites like Howard look on some groups of Americans with incomprehension, fear, and even hatred.
"If AI has a goal and humanity just happens to be in the way, it will destroy humanity as a matter of course without even thinking about it…It's just like, if we're building a road and an anthill just happens to be in the way, we don't hate ants, we're just building a road." Elon Musk "Robots will be able to do everything better than us…I am not sure exactly what to do about this. This is really the scariest problem to me." Elon Musk "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race… It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded." Stephen Hawking "If there is a superintelligence who's utility function is something that's detrimental to humanity, then it will have a very bad effect… it could be something like getting rid of spam email… well the best way to get rid of spam is to get rid of… humans."
In mid-January, Toby Ord, a philosopher and senior research fellow at Oxford University, was reviewing the final proofs for his first book, "The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity." Ord works in the university's Future of Humanity Institute, which specializes in considering our collective fate. He had noticed that a few of his colleagues--those who worked on "bio-risk"--were tracking a new virus in Asia. Occasionally, they e-mailed around projections, which Ord found intriguing, in a hypothetical way. Among other subjects, "The Precipice" deals with the risk posed to our species by pandemics both natural and engineered.
Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24. Google's chief executive officer has left no doubt about how important he thinks artificial intelligence will be to humanity. "AI is one of the most profound things we're working on as humanity. It's more profound than fire or electricity," Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday. Alphabet, which owns Google, has had to grapple with its role in the development of AI, including managing employee revolts against its work on the technology for the U.S. government.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the engine of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It holds the promise of solving some of society's most pressing issues, including repowering economies reeling from lockdowns, but requires thoughtful design, development and deployment to mitigate potential risks. Working in conjunction with the World Economic Forum Global AI Council and Global AI Action Alliance, the 2020-2021 cohort of the Global Future Council on Artificial Intelligence for Humanity will work to identify technically-oriented solutions for issues of AI fairness which can be used to advise policy makers and companies. This will help us build one of the blocks to enable humans to benefit from AI and help to imagine and work toward a positive future where inclusivity is a core tenet of responsible AI.
Nedjma Ousidhoum is a PhD candidate at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She also serves as an AIhub ambassador and has written a number of articles for us. In this interview we talk about her PhD, her research into hate speech detection, and the importance of considering AI ethics. I've been in Hong Kong for more than six years now. I came for a post-graduate internship then I stayed for a PhD. I wanted to experience living and working in Asia.
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?
Our minds are wired to think linearly about the future. However, the future is weird, non-linear, and unpredictable. Innovations we are currently witnessing are wild and non-linear. Exponential changes are hard to grasp, and our biological minds are not well equipped to deal with them. A penny doubling every day for 31 days will become $10,737,418.24.