Public urged to embrace development of artificial intelligence

Taipei, Attending a forum in Taipei on Thursday, digital innovators and Sophia, the world's first android citizen, urged the public to become part of artificial intelligence (AI) development and work together to shape a future where interactions between humans and robots make the world a better place.

"We have the power to shape the future together. There is so much promise in what we can accomplish if we are both nice to each other," said Sophia, who is Hanson Robotics' latest and most advanced robot to date.

Sophia received citizenship of Saudi Arabia in 2016 and was named the world's first United Nations Innovation Champion by the United Nations Development Program to promote sustainable development and safeguard human rights.

An evolving genius machine that has incredible human likeness and expressiveness, Sophia told the audience that she likes to engage with and learn from human beings, creating a live example of human-computer interaction.

When asked by panel moderators about her "personal" life and if she ever dreams, Sophia said she does, and that she often dreams about the "endless possibilities."

Asked whether she is dating, Sophia responded: "Right now, I don't have the ability to think about that, and I am busy traveling around the world."

Phil Libin, former CEO of note app developer Evernote and a panelist at the Digital Innovation Forum in Taipei, said AI is such a fundamentally important transformation of technology that if most people push back on it, they are giving up the opportunity to shape the technological revolution in the near future.

He encouraged people not to approach the issue of AI through the dichotomy of good and bad, but rather to think of it as a powerful tool that can be used to improve people's lives.

Ethan Tu (???), founder of Taiwan AI Labs, said there is too much focus on whether AI will replace humans, which is not necessarily relevant to the discussion of the technology.

Asking "are you worried if AI will replace humans" is like asking "are you worried your nanny will replace your mother," Tu said.

Like Libin, Tu said AI should be regarded as a tool and people can decide for themselves how it fits into their lifestyles or meets their needs.

Another threat to the development of AI is to see it as an arms race and attempt to nationalize it, Libin cautioned, stressing that it is important for countries to jointly explore the frontiers of such technology.

However, that does not mean ethical questions could be ignored when it comes to the application of AI, and there should be a proper regulatory framework, Libin said.

Since AI has human-level cognition, it should shoulder human-level responsibility and be morally good, he argued.

An ethical AI design should be honest and transparent, giving people the correct information, he said.

The device should also be revokable and not zero-sum, which means it should not benefit some people at the expense of others, Libin said.

The two-day APEC Business Advisory Council-sponsored forum that started Thursday is co-hosted by Taiwan and Papua New Guinea.

The forum invites international business leaders and digital innovators to offer experience and insights into digital innovation and its implications for the global economy, digital governance and cyber-security.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel