Artificial intelligence – friend or foe?

ia friend
ia friend

AI can and will be a force for good – but we need a global conversation about its regulation to make sure the benefits of the technology outweigh the risks

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is not only a topical point of discussion, but a contentious one too. In recent weeks, some of the “Godfathers of AI” have turned their attention away from the positive potential of the technology and instead towards the potential of armageddon. Warnings have been plastered across national newspapers debating whether or not humanity is driving itself towards extinction. Others, however, have continued to dismiss any notion that these advancements are dystopian or apocalyptic.

If there is one point of consensus, it’s that the path ahead is still not clear. And whether AI will help or hinder us remains somewhat undetermined.

The deeply polarising nature of this debate prompted us at Here East to explore this question in depth, and we recently gathered leaders from business, technology, the creative industries, law and academia to drill down into the question: is AI a friend or foe? Ultimately, there is one answer to the hypothesis: AI will either be a friend or a foe, depending on how we harness it.

From aiding in medical research and optimising the workplace to reducing waste and pollution, we have already witnessed some of the many benefits AI can bring when used for good. Recently, we saw AI help a paralysed man to walk again with a device that was able to read his brain waves and send instructions to his muscles. An AI-based decoder is being developed that can translate brain activity into text, pioneering a non-invasive way to restore speech in those who have lost it due to motor neurone disease or a stroke.