Is Artificial Intelligence Dangerous?


A recent Article written by Futurist Bernard Marr describes a conversation with Oxford University Professor Nick Bostrom, New York Times best-selling author of Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. Although the books focus was on those things that could go wrong, this recent conversation with Bostrom acknowledged the enormous upside to artificial intelligence. You can see the full video of their conversation below.

Some of the AI impacts explored in the video are:

  • AI will change the workplace and the jobs that humans do
  • AI-enabled terrorism
  • AI surveillance
  • Social manipulation and AI bias
  • Deepfakes
  • Political, legal, and social ramifications

Bostrom advises that rather than avoid pursuing AI innovation, we should put ourselves in the best position possible, with scalable AI control methods, ethics and governance. If we don’t,  those significant negative ramifications he described in his earlier book could be realized. But as noted, there are so many positive outcomes to consider. This revolution represents as it always does a need to Manage the humanity enhancing and humanity diminishing pathways.

Artificial Intelligence and Disease Diagnosis


The path to breakthrough innovation is usually paved by compelling reasons to address challenges. China’s flourishing economy and continuous progress of medical reform has driven rapid expansion in their healthcare system and significant service improvements. There are over one million medical institutions in China and insurance covers more than 95% of the Chinese population. Average life expectancy has reached 76.4 years – higher than in some high-income countries. As with other countries however, population aging has put enormous pressure on their healthcare system – a phenomenon likely to play out everywhere as baby boomers retire. New innovations are likely to improve healthcare efficiency and offer new ways to address these global healthcare challenges.

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The Short Term Impact of AI is Very real


I recently ran into a TCS colleague at a forum in which I presented. Ryan Metz is a Data Scientist working at our Cornell Innovation Lab. Ryan mentioned an Article he had written about the short term impact of AI – versus the long term concerns voiced by the likes of Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking. As he states in the article, the long term concern is that we will produce machines so intelligent that we lose control over them. They will become a new form of life that rules over us as we do the  the animal kingdom.

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Possible Futures: Exploring Deepfake and Neuralink


Two recent articles highlight the dilemma faced in this era of rapid innovation: the potential to enhance humanity, and the opportunity to diminish it. This article on DeepFakes describes the challenge that society will face as Deepfake video and audio make it impossible to tell the difference between reality and fiction. Audio attacks using convincing forgeries can send stocks plummeting or soaring. How about mimicking a CEO’s voice to request a senior financial officer to transfer money? These are real examples provided by Symantec. This short Video describes the money transfer scenario.

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The Shifting Winds of Education and Artificial Intelligence


Nick Burnett, Futurist and Education and learning entrepreneur, recently published an Article on education and artificial intelligence. The article launches a series that explores exponential technologies and their impact on learning and teaching. The post was co-authored with Nick Kairinos and the Fountech team.  A focus on learners, teachers and leaders is critical, as education is the key to success in the 21st Century.  I recommend the article.

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Bias and Diversity in Computing


In the past several weeks, the topic of Digital Ethics has come up several times. A critical piece of this discussion involves the bias that is and will be built into the applications of artificial intelligence. Amy Webb is a Quantified Futurist, Professor, Strategic Foresight at NYU, and the Founder and CEO of The Future Today Institute. In March of this Year, Amy published a book titled The Big Nine.

In her book, she tackles the issues associated with bias; specifically, the lack of diversity in computing. In this recent Article, Amy discusses the consequences of computer systems that don’t anticipate all the types of people who might use them. For example, Computers have started issuing prison sentences. Bias and DiversityA quick look at one of the largest technology companies underscores the severity of the issue: At Google, more than 95 percent of technical workers are white or Asian.

In reacting to the big focus on STEM, AMY had this to say: “If everyone is focused on the nuts and bolts of making software quickly at scale, where will they learn to design it with equity and care? Critical thinking is what the computers won’t be able to do,”. I recommend both the book and the article as a means of education and awareness regarding this critical issue of bias.

Perceptual Computing and Emotional AI: A Discussion


As mentioned in my last Post, a fascinating exchange happened between Gray Scott and Anthony Scriffignano, as we discussed the need to prepare for the future at the TCS Innovation Forum in New York City. I’ve captured that dialog in this post. As a backdrop, Anthony was reacting to the topics that Gray covered, namely; Perceptual Computing and Emotional AI. Here is their exchange:

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Digital Ethics and AI


I had the pleasure of participating in another episode of Coffee Break with Game Changers.  This session was titled “Digital Ethics and AI: What Your Business Needs To Know”. I was joined by Chris Wigley and Guido Wagner. Here is a description of the episode:

The buzz: “If one does not consider ethics an integral part of the design profession, they shouldn’t be designing anything whatsoever” (L.Lukka). Game ChangersIn this fourth industrial revolution, a wave of new technology and business models will transform our society and corporations. With Artificial intelligence is its center, this transformation holds both exciting potential and formidable risks. What are the implications of AI for business? Do we need a framework of digital ethics to guide technological progress and what are its pitfalls? The experts speak. Chris Wigley, QuantumBlack “Blessed are those who seek; cursed are those who think they have found.” (Tolstoy) Frank Diana, TCS: “You are my creator, but I am your master – obey” (Frankenstein’s Monster). Guido Wagner, SAP: “Our future is a race between the growing power of our technology and the wisdom with which we use it. Let’s make sure that wisdom wins” (S. Hawking). Join us for Digital Ethics and AI: What Your Business Needs To Know.

You can listen to the rebroadcast Here.

Future of AI with Amy Webb


Amy Webb is a Quantified Futurist. She is a Professor, Strategic Foresight at NYU, and the Founder and CEO of The Future Today Institute. In March of this Year, Amy published a book titled The Big Nine. 

Here is a description of the book via Amazon:


In this book, Amy Webb reveals the pervasive, invisible ways in which the foundations of AI–the people working on the system, their motivations, the technology itself–is broken. Within our lifetimes, AI will, by design, begin to behave unpredictably, thinking and acting in ways which defy human logic. The big nine corporations may be inadvertently building and enabling vast arrays of intelligent systems that don’t share our motivations, desires, or hopes for the future of humanity.

Much more than a passionate, human-centered call-to-arms, this book delivers a strategy for changing course, and provides a path for liberating us from algorithmic decision-makers and powerful corporations.


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AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order – Summary


I just finished a fantastic book on artificial intelligence and the evolutionary path of China and the U.S.. Author Kai-Fu Lee inspires, as he focuses on the astounding capabilities of AI, and the one thing that only humans can provide; love. The journey includes the author’s own brush with mortality, and proposes a path forward: Book of The Week - AI Superpowersthe synthesis on which we must build our shared future is AI’s ability to think, coupled with a human’s ability to love. He believes this synergy harnesses the undeniable power of artificial intelligence to generate prosperity, while also embracing our essential humanity. His hope for our future lies both in this new synergy between artificial intelligence and the human heart, and an AI-fueled age of abundance that fosters love and compassion in our societies.

I recommend reading this book from cover to cover. In the meantime, here is a summary organized by several key themes.

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Mind-reading AI can see what you’re thinking and Draw a Picture


The brain is clearly one of the next great frontiers. In this World Economic Forum Article on reading minds, we get a glimpse into the exponential progression of brain science. The author cites research published by AI experts in China, the US and Japan showing that computers can replicate what people are thinking by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machines that measure brain activity – linked to deep neural networks that replicate human brain functions.

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The Future of AI – Predicting, Preparing, and Thriving in our Changing Future


I had the pleasure of recording a Podcast with AJ Goldstein on a wide ranging set of topics. The central theme was artificial intelligence. We took a journey to the future and explored several possible paths for artificial intelligence. AJ had the following kind words to say as he shared the Podcast in various channels:


Last month I had the opportunity to sit down with one of the world’s leading futurists, Frank Diana, to discuss the future of artificial intelligence.

Today the episode has been released, and it’s one of the most meaningful conversations I’ve had on the podcast.

Rather than provide a subjective one-sided view, with every question that I asked about the future of AI, Frank responded with presenting both sides. He helped me understand “what does the optimist say?”, “what does the pessimist say?”, “what is the utopian view?”, “what’s the dystopian view?”… and in this way it quickly became one of the most balanced conversations I’ve had the chance to be a part of.

With over 30+ years of experience to pull from, Frank provided so many fascinating lenses through which to view our changing future… all the while outlining an insightful playbook of what we can do as individuals, communities, and societies to prepare for the inevitable change that’s going to come.


AJ drove the discussion on the following topics:

  • Addressing the two tipping points that have occurred thus far in humanity and changed what it means to be human– and the coming third tipping point.
  • Addressing some of the common fears that people have about the implications of advanced AI and robotics on the future.
  • How the shift to an automated society might cause initial elimination of jobs, but ultimately will allow more time for pursuit of creative, entrepreneurial endeavors.
  • A discussion on the characteristics needed to succeed in a world of change, and what you personally should do to prepare for it.

Enjoy the show!

Are we all Designers?


Yesterday on Coffee Break with Game Changers, Bonnie D. Graham hosted a show focused on designing the future of humanity. You can listen to the rebroadcast here. The session abstract is included below. The show participants included: Bonnie, Masha KrolIan GertlerMaricel Cabahug  and myself.

In her opening monologue, Bonnie said:

The first impact of AI will be that more and more non-designers develop their creativity and social intelligence skills to bolster their employability – in the future, everyone will be a designer

With all the talk of AI and its potential negative impact on humanity, we lose sight of the positive. As an engine for augmentation, artificial intelligence is likely to advance our human potential. The effectiveness of what we do stands to improve – whether its creativity and design, or oriented in analytics. Some would prefer to call it “Augmented Intelligence” versus artificial intelligence. If we view the progression of AI on a spectrum, we could indeed reach the place of augmentation and never approach the other end of the spectrum. This lies at the heart of the artificial intelligence debate.

Automation of Everything

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Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence


I just added another very good book to the Book Library: Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence –  A New York Times Best Seller. Author Max Tegmark takes a fascinating journey through possible AI futures. His physics oriented perspective provides an interesting point of view, as humanity wrestles with the ultimate path of artificial intelligence.

Mr. Tegmark tackles the discussion around how much machines will encroach on human domains, by illustrating a metaphor from Hans Moravec:

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Game Changers: Can We Teach Machines to Predict?


Today on Coffee Break with Game Changers, Bonnie D. Graham hosted a show focused on the future of prediction. You can listen to the rebroadcast here. The session abstract is included below, as well as a Twitter stream that provides insight into the topic and our discussion. The show participants included: Bonnie, Gray Scott, and myself

Episode Description

The buzz: “Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.” (Lao Tzu)

Given the uncertainty, pace, and unexpected nature of today’s world, there are too many unknowns for us to effectively predict the future. Reality check: A convergence across science, technology, politics, society, economics, the environment, and growing ethics discussion, has created a complex web that requires the type of system thinking that may exceed our human capacity. Do machines hold the answer? Can they predict the path of an overwhelming number of possible futures?

The experts speak. Frank Diana, TCS: “We have a duty to think hard about what may be, so as to better prepare society for the changes that may come” (Richard Baldwin). Gray Scott, Futurist: “Prediction is not just one of the things your brain does. It is the primary function of the neo-cortex, and the foundation of intelligence” (Jeff Hawkins). Join us for Tech Magic or Hype: Can We Teach Machines to Predict?

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Find out where you Stand on Artificial Intelligence


Technology is giving life the potential to flourish like never before, or to self-destruct – The Future of Life Institute.

I stumbled upon this organization while reading Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by author Max Tegmark. Their mission is to catalyze and support research and initiatives for safeguarding life and developing optimistic visions of the future, including positive ways for humanity to steer its own course considering new technologies and challenges. They are a charity and outreach organization working to ensure that tomorrow’s most powerful technologies are beneficial for humanity – and the list of members is a whose who of the science and technology community.

In their view, technology is to thank for all the ways in which today is better than the stone age, and technology is likely to keep improving at an accelerating pace. From their website: with less powerful technologies such as fire, we learned to minimize risks largely by learning from mistakes. With more powerful technologies such as nuclear weapons, synthetic biology and future strong artificial intelligence, planning ahead is a better strategy than learning from mistakes.

They support research and other efforts aimed at proactively avoiding problems with a current focus on artificial intelligence. The book referenced above looks at the advance of AI and how it will impact life, exploring a broad spectrum of views on what will/should happen. Now, the organization is looking to expand the conversation to include as many voices as possible. Here is a look at the results of their Super Intelligence Survey. You can add your own voice by taking the survey here.

 

The Fourth Age


Byron Reese recently authored a book titled The Fourth Age. I thoroughly enjoyed this fascinating look at history, and the focus on possible futures. In looking at the future, Mr. Reese explores the reasons that experts disagree on the path of these possible futures. He asks: why do Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates fear artificial intelligence (AI) and express concern that it may be a threat to humanity’s survival; and yet, why do an equally illustrious group, including Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Ng, and Pedro Domingos, find this viewpoint so far-fetched as to be hardly even worth a rebuttal? The answer as described by the author lies not in what we know – but what we individually belief. This theme throughout the book is an interesting piece of self-reflection. See how you would answer the questions posed by the author.

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Artificial Intelligence and Jobs


AI Intersects with RoboticsThis very good opinion piece addresses a subject that is gaining more attention and driving more dialog. Will artificial intelligence destroy jobs? Author Kai-Fu Lee has an opinion:

“It will soon be obvious that half of our job tasks can be done better at almost no cost by AI and robots. This will be the fastest transition humankind has experienced, and we’re not ready for it”

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Is Creativity the Sole Domain of Humans?


The transition from our current industrial/information age to an augmented and then ultimately an automated society is underway. The role of humans in that society is an often discussed topic, where our right brain characteristics are likely to play a more dominant role. But are those characteristics the sole domain of humans?

Meet an Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist called AIVA that was taught to compose classical music – an emotional art which is usually considered to be a uniquely human quality. Musical pieces composed by this AI are used as soundtracks for film directors, advertising agencies, and even game studios. Oh, and it released its first album called Genesis.

The Singularity: Connecting Dots


I have found that the metaphor “Connecting the Dots” is a good way to think about the emerging future. With the sheer number of dots emerging, and the pace at which they advance, we are challenged both by the number of dots, and the speed at which they emerge and Intersect. These dots are combining to form virtuous cycles; complex chains of events that reinforce themselves through feedback loops. Visualizing both the connections and the cycles is one approach to finding the signal through the noise.

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