Exploring ethics and AI, with Recode co-founder, Kara Swisher

The last few years have seen a noticeable rise in public understanding of AI solutions – partly driven by the rapid proliferation of technologies like Alexa and Siri. At the same time, we’ve seen significant new developments in AI, machine learning and human machine collaborative technologies that will come to define its future. However, despite these dramatic leaps forward, it remains true that the ethical perception of AI – and the extent to which the technology is inherently neutral – remains unclear in the minds of many. Even among those developing AI solutions.

The upcoming PARC Forum on Thursday December 13th will explore the ethics of AI, and how trust, explainability and democratized ethical development should shape it. With PARC CEO, Tolga Kurtoglu, joining award-winning technology journalist, and co-founder of Recode, Kara Swisher, to discuss how humans will be impacted by AI solutions in their communities, societies, shared environments and workplaces. And why ethics has to be a crucial part of determining AI’s future involvement with humans.

Here are a few of the things Tolga and Kara will be talking about at the Forum on December 13th.

Who’s defining AI’s future?

One of the key issues surrounding AI today is who controls it, and who has the most say in its future role in society.

According to Kara Swisher, AI needs to be seen alongside automation and robotics as a package of future facing technologies that are moving fast and are subject to justified questions about who’s controlling things. It’s arguably the case that too few companies and too few people are in the driving seat, with key programming and development centralized to the extent that these technologies could not be seen as ethical to the population at large. Put simply, whatever threat to humans AI might pose is less to do with malicious or economic changes, and more to do with how democratic its development is.

This will be one of the central points of discussion at the Forum, with Kara and Tolga asking who should be influencing the future of AI, and how to regulate areas like self-driving cars and healthcare – without over-regulating to the extent that innovation is stifled.

Trusting in the machine

Away from who’s influencing AI, one of the key things that will define its maturation over the next few years is how much we as humans can trust it. PARC CEO, Tolga Kurtoglu, has spoken about this before, and about how one of PARC’s key focuses is bringing AI and computational agents together with humans to create teams.

Central to this will be making AI not just trustworthy, but explainable. So that when a human asks an AI enabled device (like Alexa, or a satellite navigation) to perform a task the response is more than a simple direction or action. Instead, the AI will be able to explain why it got to that particular decision, and – when necessary – the human and the AI can work together to solve a problem and explore solutions to it.

Creating this symbiotic partnership between humans and agents is essential. Not least because it’s not inconceivable that we’ll arrive at a time when humans take direction from AI tech without questioning it. In that kind of relationship trust is essential. And it will stop a future in which humans ask questions and take answers without being an active participant in the process – a danger that may become real if AI doesn’t explain itself on any meaningful level.

The Forum will discuss the importance of explainable, trustworthy AI – as well as the steps PARC is taking to realize that future.

Join us at our PARC Forum

Kara and Tolga’s ethics and AI Forum begins at 5pm on Thursday December 13th, at the George E. Pake Auditorium at PARC’s headquarters in Palo Alto. Join us for this unique event that will discuss how we create a better future for AI. If you are unable to attend, you can watch the live stream here.

For more information about previous PARC forums, visit the PARC Forum homepage.

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