Co-founder of Microsoft, billionaire and now philanthropist bill gates believes artificial intelligence is a very unusual and controversial technology that can both help humanity and harm it. At a conference of the Stanford Institute of anthropocentric artificial intelligence (Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence) gates drew an analogy between artificial intelligence and nuclear weapons. In his opinion, people should develop AI technologies in more peaceful areas, for example, in education and medicine, otherwise we all can expect trouble.
“There have not been so many technologies in the world that are both promising and very dangerous,” gates said at the conference, referring to the energy of the atom as one of the positive examples of useful technology, which was soon overshadowed by the emergence of nuclear weapons on its basis. At the same time, he complained that in those areas where AI could bring real benefit to humanity, real results are still very small. In his opinion, medicine and education are the areas where AI could really help people.
“This is a chance to bring social Sciences to a new level, starting with the most important thing – education”, — said the billionaire, for many years expressing excitement about the risks associated with AI.
The ingrained pace of development of artificial intelligence, supported by the technology of neural networks that mimic the work of the human brain, has already revolutionized the technological sphere. Now AI and neural networks are used everywhere: from biometric systems of identification of people, and ending with anti-spam filters for e-mail. However, gates does not want the benefits that artificial intelligence can provide to be enjoyed only by such technological giants as Amazon, Google and Facebook.
As one of the positive examples of the use of AI in medicine, he cited the work of a private American biotechnology company 23andMe, which is engaged in the analysis of genetic data. According to gates, the use of artificial intelligence has identified a link between the lack of selenium (a vital trace element) in the body and premature births in women in Africa. Over the next 18 months, researchers will find out whether the therapy programme adopted in this regard is expected to benefit more than 20,000 African women.
“It is expected that the measures taken should reduce the rate of premature birth by about 15 per cent, which in General will save about 80,000 lives for only one Africa,” gates added.
With regard to education, gates hopes that AI can help develop more effective approaches to learning.
“Unfortunately, now we practically ignore the motivational aspects of education. We do not try to develop programs aimed at increasing the interest and involvement of students in learning, do not investigate issues related to new methods of learning. But all this can help us to improve our educational system, as well as reduce the percentage of students who decided to leave school,” commented gates.
Speaking at the conference, gates also noted that the United States has almost lost technological separation from other countries in the development of artificial intelligence technologies:
“The US has held a unique position in most of these breakthrough technologies. However, now the leadership of our country is becoming less obvious, ” gates said.
In his opinion, in 10 years the United States may take the role of catching up, as leading research aimed at understanding, for example, the same benefits of using AI in the fields of biology and medicine will no longer be conducted in America.
He also noted that the current internal mechanisms of the AI systems are poorly understood.
“We are very concerned about the opacity of most of the current projects aimed at the development and development of deep machine learning systems,” commented gates.