AI100 report hones in on latest social, ethical issues around artificial intelligence
Every five years, a team of researchers and industry leaders with expertise in varying fields tied to artificial intelligence come together to create a report on the most significant questions and developments around AI as part of the One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence. “Gathering Strength, Gathering Storms” — the latest report and second edition of AI100 — aims to capture a growing sense of responsibility in how to proceed with AI.
The report reflects a shift in public conversation from excitement around the technology to concerns regarding how it is and will be used equitably and ethically, said Michael Littman, professor of computer science and chair of the study panel.
The main takeaway is the “mixed reception that AI is having in society,” said Steven Sloman, a member of the study panel and professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences. “On one hand, it’s making our lives easier and doing some work to (improve) judgments and decisions we make, but, on the other hand, it’s creating dangers that we haven’t faced before,” he said.
Shifting perspectives on human vs. machine intelligence
Over the last five years, the view that human intelligence is collective — that individuals are just a part of a greater intellectual machine — has gained prominence, the report found.
“AI started out as a field that was very closely related to cognitive science,” with the “common goal of trying to understand intelligence,” Sloman said. “There was this underlying assumption that humans were the intelligent agent, and so, if we tried to make computers smart, we would necessarily be learning something about people.”
“As the fields have evolved, it's become clear ... there are kinds of intelligence that machines have that humans don't,” Sloman said.
Contributions of individual humans to the collective intelligence will differ from those of machines due to their different strengths, according to the report.
“Machines have bigger memories and faster processing speeds, and in some ways, they have more sophisticated learning algorithms that don’t suffer the intrusions of other human demands, like the need to deal with our emotional reactions,” Sloman said. These forms of intelligence allow machines to be better chess players than any human being, for instance, because it involves “skills that it turns out humans aren't the best at,” he added.