|Photo: Virginia Dignum|
It can perform hard, dangerous or boring work for us, can help us to save lives and cope with disasters, can entertain us and make our daily life more comfortable.
Advances in AI are occurring at high speed. The potential risks and problems of AI technology are filling newspapers (e.g. Observer, 2015, the Guardian, 2015) with discussions ranging from killer robots to privacy concerns, the consequences of AI for labour and social equality (Daily Express, 2016), or superintelligence (CNN, 2014).
However, rather than being a threat to our existence or plotting to take over the rule of the world, AI is already changing our daily lives, almost entirely in ways that improve human health, safety, and productivity.
In the coming years we can expect AI systems to be used increasingly in domains such as transportation, service robots, healthcare, education, low-resource communities, public safety and security, employment and workplace, and entertainment (100 Year AI report). But these systems must be introduced in ways that build trust and understanding, and respect human and civil rights.
There is, in fact, a lot to be positive about. Currently, over a million persons die annually in traffic accidents, more than half of which are caused by human error. Even if intelligent self-driving cars do cause accidents and deaths, forecasts show a sharp decrease in road casualties associated with the increase in self-driving cars. Similarly, jobs will be lost – but maybe repetitive, monotonous, demeaning jobs should be lost, freeing up people for more meaningful and joyful occupations.
AI developments will contribute to a much-needed redefinition of fundamental human values, including our current understanding of work, wealth and responsibility – all of which will be part of the debate in the panel session AI: is the future finally here? at ITU Telecom World 2016 in Bangkok this November.