Artificial Intelligence Needs Best Practices
Many predict artificial intelligence (AI) will someday cure cancer, clean up our environment, drastically improve our cities, and send us to Mars, among a host of other accomplishments. However, with the potential benefits that inspire oohs and aahs also comes risk. Before there was Siri, there was HAL. And in the epic science fiction movie “2001: A Space Odyssey,” when the poor astronaut Dave Bowman asks the supercomputer HAL 9000 to let him back inside the spacecraft, HAL merely responds, “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
Granted, this was a movie—albeit a brilliant one—but there are still real life concerns about what exactly are artificial intelligence best practices and a need for guidelines.
To that end, some companies that have been working on AI-related technologies—Amazon, DeepMind/Google, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft—have formed a partnership on AI. According to the recent announcement, the new industry group will conduct research, recommend best practices, and publish research under an open license on the collaboration between people and AI systems. However, the group states they do not intend to lobby government or other policymaking bodies.
Automated vehicles (AVs, such as self-driving cars) and AI-equipped unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, or drones) are clearly subject to government regulation. How will the incorporation of AI into these products as they become widespread affect regulatory approaches?
The White House is taking steps and has released a report on future directions and considerations called Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence, which includes how the technology can advance social good and how to adapt regulations that affect AI technologies, such as automated vehicles. A companion National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan lays out a strategic roadmap for Federally-funded research and development in AI.
Among academic research growing around AI, theoretical physicist and cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking, who has been outspoken about the pros and cons of AI in the past, recently opened a new artificial intelligence research center at Britain's Cambridge University, the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence.
At the launch, Professor Hawking said the rise of artificial intelligence “will be either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity.” He also stated, "Perhaps with the tools of this new technological revolution, we will be able to undo some of the damage done to the natural world by the last one - industrialization. And surely we will aim to finally eradicate disease and poverty. Every aspect of our lives will be transformed, in short, success in creating AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization.”
Of course, artificial intelligence has already been winning chess matches against us for years.