“I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.”
― Alan Turing, Computing machinery and intelligence
We’ve passed the end of the century Turing references, but the issue of machines thinking is very much at the forefront of our thoughts today. As we embark on our journey into the brave new world of AI and machine learning, we should be setting some ground rules in terms of how we retain control, if we can, not just of the AI itself but also of the impact AI has during this journey. There have already been fatalities during the testing of autonomous vehicles and we need to ask ourselves who is at fault, the testers or the machine? This conundrum will come into sharper focus as AI develops further, evolving quite rapidly into intelligent entities with their own personalities and responsibilities.
The development of AI is already bringing issues into focus, particularly around ethics, privacy and control, and the field is moving so quickly that it may be difficult for the ‘how we should manage this’ aspect to get left behind. For instance who will have this responsibility, public bodies and governments or the commercial groups developing AI for competitive gain? Should this path to AI be regulated and ethically managed, and would this be at national or international level?
A key problem is going to be that we simply won’t fully understand what’s going on as AI makes decisions. There wont be any transparency, which will complicate things when things go wrong and we need to make changes or apportion blame.
We’re at the early stages of AI (though products such as HPE InfoSight already deploy machine learning capabilities), and still cant define things like “What constitutes an intelligence?” and “Is that the same as a consciousness?” But we need to make sure the ethics of AI keeps pace with the development of the technology.
In the following video an HPE expert panel considers the specifics of ethics and AI and how we might manage this process best as we embark on the AI journey.