The latest chapter in a 100-year study says AI’s promises and perils are getting real
A newly published report on the state of artificial intelligence says the field has reached a turning point where attention must be paid to the everyday applications of AI technology — and to the ways in which that technology are being abused.
The report, titled “Gathering Strength, Gathering Storms,” was issued today as part of the One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence, or AI100, which is envisioned as a century-long effort to track progress in AI and guide its future development .
AI100 was initiated by Eric Horvitz, Microsoft’s chief scientific officer, and hosted by the Stanford University Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. The project is funded by a gift from Horvitz, a Stanford alumnus, and his wife, Mary.
The project’s first report, published in 2016, downplayed concerns that AI would lead to a Terminator-style rise of the machines and warned that fear and suspicion about AI would impede efforts to ensure the safety and reliability of AI technologies. At the same time, it acknowledged that the effects of AI and automation could lead to social disruption.
This year’s update, prepared by a standing committee in collaboration with a panel of 17 researchers and experts, says AI’s effects are increasingly touching people’s lives in settings that range from movie recommendations and voice assistants to autonomous driving and automated medical diagnoses.
“In the past five years, AI has made the leap from something that mostly happens in research labs or other highly controlled settings to something that’s out in society affecting people’s lives,” Brown University computer scientist Michael Littman, who chaired the report panel, said in a news release.
“That’s really exciting, because this technology is doing some amazing things that we could only dream about five or ten years ago,” Littman added. “But at the same time the field is coming to grips with the societal impact of this technology, and I think the next frontier is thinking about ways we can get the benefits from AI while minimizing the risks.”