As you might expect, a Professor of Artificial Intelligence will have no hesitation in describing themselves as an ‘AI optimist’ and would likely remember being inspired by movies and TV shows from their childhood depicting exciting futures featuring self-driving vehicles.
“These things promised to make our lives better and more enjoyable, and I was inspired by the technology; that’s why I got into this field,” remarks Gopal Ramchurn, Professor of AI at the University of Southampton. “I see lots of opportunities for AI to make things more efficient, improve the resilience of assets and reduce costs.
“But what worries me is the way the technology has evolved over the last decade,” he continues. “It has given power to certain companies to exploit, rather than serve, society. We risk taking away jobs and creating new technology that adds to cyber security concerns.
“AI technologies take time to get right,” he adds, “but if we rush into them to make a lot of money very quickly rather than thinking through how we deploy them, we will end up serving the richest people first. We need to take a long-term view of AI, rather than just letting it be in the hands of Silicon Valley.”
One major challenge that needs addressing, he adds, is ensuring that people have trust in such systems.