As modern society enters the Age of Artificial Intelligence we have a sense of excitement about the technological advances it will enable mixed with anxiety about what changes it might bring.
On the one hand we have the optimistic thought leaders making bold statements like Andrew Ng who states “AI is the new electricity”.
Sundar Pichai who said, “AI is probably the most important thing humanity has ever worked on. I think of it as something more profound than electricity or fire. Anytime you work with technology you need to learn to harness the benefits while minimizing the downsides.”
While on the other side we hear Elon Musk’s warning that “We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes.”
and Stephen Hawking who cautioned, “the rise of powerful AI will be either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity.”
Whereas my thoughts on the future of AI are more accurately reflected in Satya Nadella’s more neutral comments, “it depends on us, what shape AI will take. If we make the design decision that AI should empower humans and actually keep the human in the loop, the human will remain in the loop…”
What’s it all about?
Notice that there’s a common theme. No matter if they hold an optimistic or pessimistic view of artificial intelligence, they all agree that AI is profound and seriously important. I couldn’t agree more. So what’s holding us back?
Fear of Change
Anytime there’s been a new technology that threatened people’s way of living, there were always people screaming and shouting out of fear of what might happen. There are many historical examples of Luddites fearing change. We reject the fear of change. Each technological revolution has brought about a better society that humanity has been working toward for millennia.
I get it. The evil overlord AI makes a great story that people love to watch and read about. There’s no shortage of anxiety and fear provoking movies, books, comics, and popular media that depict all that can go wrong with AI because ultimately that’s what sells, by appealing to people’s anxiety and negativity bias. But that’s obviously not the type of future we all want and so we can help avoid those dystopian outcomes by rejecting them and focusing on the future that we do want.
We Shape The Future
We understand as a society that we’re on the cusp of a major technological revolution that is approaching exponentially faster. Which is why we have a sense of urgency around the ethics of AI because we understand that what we do today helps shape tomorrow. Artificial Intelligence is here to stay and will be shaped by how we choose to think about it. For this reason, Traits AI focuses our attention on answering the question what type of a future do we want to see with AI? It is important that we get a very clear vision of what an ideal future in collaboration with AI looks like and then start building it.
That’s why at Traits AI we especially want to be clear about what traits or characteristics we strive to embody and exemplify. We’re especially inspired by Dr. Julia Mossbridge, Principal Investigator and Team Lead of lovingai.org, who said “the AGI that we’re looking for are colleagues and teachers.”
I invite you to read more about what Traits AI stands for here: Our Values