Artificial intelligence, the holy grail and the newest obsession in the tech world according to the moderator of the The Three Dimensions of Artificial Intelligence: Science, Business & People panel at the Business BSF, Ms Pika Šarf, Junior Research Fellow at the Institute of Criminology of the Faculty of Law, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, has the potential to bring about positive change, but it also comes with challenges.
Mr Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union, pointed out that the good AI can do may outweigh the bad. However, challenges and potential risks must be addressed. “Technology itself is neutral, it’s what we do with it,” he said. “There are some challenges and we need to have a frank discussion about them,” Mr King added.
One of the major challenges pinpointed by the panellists, including Mr Joseph Dumoulin, Chief Technology Innovation Officer of Verint Intelligent Self-Service from the United States, is the bias of algorithms. According to him, bias is inherent to many applications, just as it is inherent to people, according to Dr Jernej Pikalo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Science and Sport of Slovenia.
Dumoulin pointed out that when data sets used to teach algorithms are biased, the results also are inevitably biased. A major bias – gender bias – in AI stems from the simple fact that only 12% of leading machine learning and AI engineers are women, added Dr Emilija Stojmenova Duh, Director of the Digital Innovation Hub Slovenia, who believes that women and minorities should be involved in the field to a greater extent through education and access to technological skills.
Education in general is seen as crucial for the field by Dr Pikalo, who noted that children of today must be taught about the technology if they are to understand the world they will enter into when they conclude their education 20 years from now.
This is why AI and its challenges, be it pragmatical or philosophical, must be discussed, believes Dr Matthias Sachs, Director Corporate Affairs of Microsoft CEE. He stressed that the six principles of AI, put together by the EU, especially transparency and accountability, are the starting point for the debate on the development of the field.
Moreover, there are myths about AI that need to be debunked, said Dr Michael May, Head of Data Analytics & AI at Siemens Corporate Technology. AI is often seen as science fiction, as superhuman intelligence that can do everything better than humans, but that is not even remotely close to reality, he said. “Many fears that people have about AI are misplaced.”
Nevertheless, as development of AI is faster than global regulation, Mr Julian King believes that EU should lead by example. This is especially important because, as the keynote speaker, Dr Yossi Vardi, Entrepreneur and Investor from Israel, pointed out, AI was becoming a strategic tool, even weapon, and was the subject of a global race.