Think of how many more decades it will take for human enhancement? Better think about it again.
Last week, government leaders met with experts and innovators ahead of the World Government Summit in Dubai. Their target? Defining the future of AI.
This event has attracted some of the most prominent names in AI. The summit was attended by representatives from IEEE, OECD, UN and AAAI; managers from IBM Watson, Microsoft, Facebook,, OpenAI,, Nest,, Drive.ai and Amazon AI; and officials from Italy, France, Estonia, Canada, Russia, Singapore, Australia and the UAE.
Futurism was granted exclusive access to the Closed Roundtable, which was organized by the Future Society of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the UAE's Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, H.E. Co-organized by Omar bin Sultan Al Olama.
This conversation covers everything from the development of an AI with feelings to how algorithms can invade our privacy. One of the most interesting parts of the roundtable was when participants discussed the most direct ways to use A for the benefit of humanity.
So the answer is? Enhancing Humanity.
At first, it sounded like a bold assertion; However, we have been using AI to enhance our activities and increase our work. You don't believe me? Take out your phone. Go to Facebook or other social media platforms. There, you'll see the AI hard at work, sorting through images, news and ads and bringing you all the things you want to see. When you type an entry into a search engine, things work in much the same way - the AI looks at your words and brings you what you want.
Of course, the impact of AI extends far beyond the digital world.
Take LawGeex, a legal firm that uses AI algorithms to automatically review contracts, for example. Automated paper pushing does save clients money, but the real benefit for many lawyers is the time saved. In fact, as one participant in the session noted, "no one went to law school to cut and paste parts of the management documents".
Likewise, AI is quickly becoming a valuable resource in medicine, whether it's helping with administrative tasks, the tedious task of handling paperwork, or assisting with processing, even surgical procedures. The FDA even recently approved an algorithm to predict death.
These are examples of how AI is already being used to enhance our knowledge and our ability to find answers - and how they are changing our work and our lives.
When we think of AI increasing humans, we often think that our brains will jump straight to those classic sci-fi scenarios. We see brain implants taking humans to the next stage of evolution, or wearable listeners that translate language in real time. But in our excitement and eagerness to explore the potential of new technology, we don't usually stop to consider it, but it eventually brings us to the end of the line - because we've already set out on the path.
While it's fun to consider all the weird and wonderful things that advanced AI systems can allow us to do, we can't ignore the real value of the seemingly mundane systems in reality. These systems, if fully implemented, could free us from the monotony of our work and allow us to actually spend our time doing the things we think are worthwhile.
Imagine no lines in the DMV; imagine submitting your taxes in seconds; this vision is possible and in the coming months and years, world leaders are planning to push the pace of getting us down this path. During the discussion in Dubai, participants explored the next steps that the government needs to take to accelerate our progress on this path.
The panel noted that before governments can begin to expand human life, whether it's monitoring blood sugar levels with smart contact lenses or transforming government front office staff into AI, world leaders need to understand the current state of their countries. One expert noted, "The first thing the government needs to do is to understand where they are on the path. "
In the coming weeks or months, countries around the globe may be asked to do so. Once the country understands where they are on this path, ideally they will share their findings to help those who are behind them and learn from those who are coming. With a better road map in hand, countries will be ready to walk the walk.
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