The positive impacts artificial intelligence (AI) will have on our society are nearly endless. AI is the next big compute evolution, enabling computers to perform tasks and make decisions that normally require humans. The benefits range from increasing efficiency of agricultural production, to preventing financial fraud, to enabling safer and smarter automobiles.
While today much of AI involves codifying relatively common skills into algorithms, future advances will cause a seismic shift within technology and within our society. We should be proactive in thinking through these implications as we encourage the innovation to continue.
The innovation across the AI ecosystem, including within my own company is astounding. Intel’s technology is being used to supply the compute from the data center to the edge, enabling automated cars and drones.
We are taking our decades of leadership in developing the leading computational hardware, and are now optimizing it for AI. We recently introduced the Intel® Nervana™ Neural Network Processor, purpose built from the ground up explicitly for AI deep learning training. These innovations will support the next advances in AI applications.
Yet advances without accounting for the societal effects are not sustainable. We, as a society, need to create a public policy environment that supports industry advancements in artificial intelligence while also mitigating unintended consequences and recommending regulatory solutions where needed.
There is no doubt, for example, that developments in artificial intelligence will change the job market. We need to find a useful framework to analyze the co-evolution of AI’s application along with these employment concerns. Intel is a problem-solving company; we don’t just raise the issue, we find solutions.
To that end, last October we published a white paper describing our AI Public Policy recommendations, intended to trigger discussions among policymakers, technologists, academics, data scientists, and the public.
We identified five principles that could represent the backbone of future public policies:
1) Foster Innovation and Open Development: To better understand how impactful AI can be in our lives and continue to explore the spectrum of applications, policy should encourage investment in AI R&D.
Governments should support the controlled testing of artificially intelligent systems to help industry, academia, and other stakeholders improve AI systems.
2) Create New Human Employment Opportunities and Protect People’s Welfare: AI will change the way many of us work.
Public policy in support of adding skills to the workforce and promoting employment across sectors should enhance our workforce while also protecting people’s welfare.
3) Liberate Data Responsibly: AI is powered by access to data. While maintaining security and data privacy, machine learning algorithms improve by absorbing more data over time; data acquisition is imperative to achieving enhanced model development. Making data accessible will help AI reach its full potential.
4) Rethink Privacy: Many privacy frameworks like the 1980s OECD Fair Information Practice Principles and industry approaches like Privacy by Design have withstood the test of time and the evolution of new technology. We have had to “rethink” how these models apply in the new AI technology landscape. Data security also has a major role to play to protect citizens’ rights.
5) Require Accountability for Ethical Design and Implementation: The social implications of computing have grown and will continue to expand as more people have access to smart systems. Policies should work to identify and mitigate discrimination in algorithms, clarify the need for oversight and explainability, encourage diversity, mitigate data bias and include different value systems in design thinking.
As a neuroscientist, processor architect, and entrepreneur, I am excited that the community continues to deliver on the promises of AI. I am mindful, however, that no evolution comes without thoughtful change.
The more we can do now to ease adoption and integration into people’s lives, the better and more successful we all will be. Artificial intelligence is driving economic progress while solving some of the world’s most difficult problems. As AI innovation is just beginning, it is crucial now to shape the right public policy environment for AI to bloom. Our focus for 2018 will continue to be twofold: continue to advance AI technology and work closely with regulators to realize AI’s benefits to society.