News  |    |  March 7, 2018

How to Make A.I. That’s Good for People

News article By Fei-Fei Li.
Published in The New York Times.

Excerpt:

For a field that was not well known outside of academia a decade ago, artificial intelligence has grown dizzyingly fast. Tech companies from Silicon Valley to Beijing are betting everything on it, venture capitalists are pouring billions into research and development, and start-ups are being created on what seems like a daily basis. If our era is the next Industrial Revolution, as many claim, A.I. is surely one of its driving forces.

It is an especially exciting time for a researcher like me. When I was a graduate student in computer science in the early 2000s, computers were barely able to detect sharp edges in photographs, let alone recognize something as loosely defined as a human face. But thanks to the growth of big data, advances in algorithms like neural networks and an abundance of powerful computer hardware, something momentous has occurred: A.I. has gone from an academic niche to the leading differentiator in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, health care, transportation and retail.

I worry, however, that enthusiasm for A.I. is preventing us from reckoning with its looming effects on society. Despite its name, there is nothing “artificial” about this technology — it is made by humans, intended to behave like humans and affects humans. So if we want it to play a positive role in tomorrow’s world, it must be guided by human concerns.

I call this approach “human-centered A.I.” It consists of three goals that can help responsibly guide the development of intelligent machines. [ . . . ]

About the Author

Fei-Fei Li is a professor of computer science at Stanford University, where she directs the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab.