A Holistic View of Artificial Intelligence — The State of the Art, Risks, Impact on Businesses and Societies.

Artificial Intelligence is changing our world — the ways we work, live, study, collaborate, decide, and act as individuals or societies. However, AI has become yet another buzzword as people and companies overuse the term and in many cases overpromise when describing AI-powered solutions. At the societal level, there is limited understanding and awareness of both the potential of AI and the associated risks. The question is, how can we ensure the proper use of AI — in the interest of the individual and society?

Societies need to adapt fast to the new technology landscape and embrace Artificial Intelligence as a ‘smart tool’ that helps people to achieve more. We all need to realize the potential that AI brings to humanity, but also understand the threats of misusing AI. We need to find ways to increase the general awareness and understanding of Artificial Intelligence, the benefits, and the risks.

What if we had a network of global thought leaders who answer a group of essential questions on Artificial Intelligence, in a single book?

That was my point of inspiration for producing 60 Leaders on AI — an ebook that presents unique perspectives on AI from 60 global thought leaders — academics, technologists, innovation leaders, entrepreneurs, and start-up founders.

60 Leaders on AI — a free ebook presenting the latest thinking on various aspects of AI

Here is the set of questions I am asking the 60 leaders:

Q1. HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN AI TO A 5-YEAR-OLD?
Artificial Intelligence tends to become hype or even perceived as magic. Explaining AI with simplicity and clarity is both essential and challenging. How would you explain it in simple words? How would you demystify it? How does AI work and what are the different types of AI — for instance, Narrow AI, General AI, Super AI? What would be the best real-world example of AI?

Q2. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINE OF AI?
How would you define Artificial Intelligence as a scientific field? What are the key disciplines that are driving the AI revolution? What is the overlap with data science, mathematics, statistical science, machine learning, computer science?

Q3. WHAT IS THE ESSENTIAL ACADEMIC CURRICULUM FOR A SUCCESSFUL CAREER AS AN AI PROFESSIONAL?
What would you advise a high-school student considering a career in the AI space? What is the essential or ideal academic background and what are the key skills required? What are the different specializations within the AI space? E.g., AI researcher, Data Scientist, AI applications Architect, etc. What qualifications are required?

Q4. WHICH ORGANIZATIONS WOULD YOU NAME AS LEADERS IN AI?
Which are the companies, or research organizations that push the limits of Artificial Intelligence? Who are the top three AI researchers and what are they working on? Could you describe their achievements and contribution to AI? Who are the top three leaders in building AI-powered products? What is their impact in applying AI to real-world problems?

Q5. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPRESSIVE TASK THAT AI CAN ACCOMPLISH TODAY?
Artificial Intelligence has already impressive achievements to present e.g. NLP language understanding vs humans or computer vision accuracy or cancer detection etc. What are the most impressive achievements of Artificial Intelligence so far? How is AI being leveraged in manufacturing, research, and healthcare? How is AI helping the world become more connected? e.g., by empowering knowledge management and context taxonomy and retrieval. Is the ‘fully autonomous car’ one of the most characteristic examples of AI?

Q6. HOW IS AI IMPACTING THE WAY BUSINESSES OPERATE?
Businesses need to adopt Artificial Intelligence and they also have to adapt to the new technologies. Which functions of the organization will be fully automated via AI? For example, how could AI improve a production line or an end-user digital experience, or a shopping experience? How could AI change how employees collaborate and build products and services? What are the risks associated with AI in a business environment?

Q7. HOW COULD A ‘CONVENTIONAL’ COMPANY TRANSFORM ITSELF INTO A DATA-DRIVEN, AI-POWERED ORGANIZATION?
What is the roadmap for a ‘typical’ company to become data-driven? How could a company inject AI into its core processes, services, and products? Which business functions should get the initial focus — in becoming data-driven and AI-powered? How could a company develop AI expertise and a team? Do companies need such expertise in-house? How long would take to develop an internal Data/AI function? Will AI/ML models become a source of differentiation for modern products and services? Or they will evolve as commoditized AI services — developed and operated by big tech companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon?

Q8. DO COMPANIES NEED A CHIEF AI OFFICER?
From an organizational perspective, what corporate role is accountable for leading the Data/AI transformation of the company? How is AI linked with SW, product development, and data organizations within a company? How is this ‘data transformation’ linked with ‘digital transformation initiatives?

Q9. WHAT IS THE ‘AI STATE OF THE ART’? WHAT ARE THE MOST ADVANCED AI TECHNOLOGIES OUT THERE?
What are the most advanced models available right now? E.g., Deep Neural Networks, Random Forests, etc. How would you summarize the state of Computer Vision, Natural Language Understanding, Content Understanding, Decision making, and Robotics? What are the latest advances? What are the most important open-source AI frameworks and models? How will Quantum Computing boost the power of current AI technologies?

Q10. WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF AI ON SOCIETY AND EVERYDAY LIFE?
AI is already everywhere — and growing rapidly in terms of power and adoption. How can individuals and societies benefit from Artificial Intelligence? Is there a technological singularity ahead of us? What would that mean? What are the risks at the societal level? What are the global problems that can now be addressed with AI?

Q11. WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF AI ON EMPLOYMENT?
Will AI drive more unemployment by replacing humans? Or will it create new roles and free up people from repetitive tasks? Which sectors will be most impacted by AI in the near future?

Q12. HOW SHOULD SOCIETIES GET PREPARED FOR AI?
How could the general population become more aware of the potential and the risks of AI? How should the educational system adapt to the new AI-powered world?

Q13. WHAT ARE THE ETHICAL CONCERNS REGARDING THE MASSIVE POWER AND THE GENERAL ADOPTION OF AI?
What are the risks for humanity? Can you give a few examples of how AI systems can be biased? And what is the impact? How could we remove bias from AI systems? Could humanity lose control of the ‘global AI’ system?

Q14. WHAT CAN WE DO TO PREVENT UNREASONABLE CONCENTRATION OF (AI) POWER?
Big tech companies accumulate massive amounts of rich data — and this gives them ‘unfair’ advantages in developing AI services of immense power. This will eventually lead to ‘data/AI monopolies’. How should we handle that? Talent in the AI space is already attracted by Big Tech companies — as they provide the data, the technologies, and the space for building AI-related solutions. How can prevent a ‘talent imbalance’ in the market?

Q15. TO REGULATE OR NOT? HOW SHOULD GOVERNMENTS REACT TO THE AI REVOLUTION?
Technology companies become extremely powerful. Sophisticated and potentially risky technologies become generally available. Does AI need regulation? How would that be possible? Do we need a framework for Ethical AI? How would that work? How can we make AI models transparent and explainable?

Q16. HOW COULD DEMOCRACY BENEFIT FROM AI?
The global population is getting connected and in theory, we can all benefit from access to information, knowledge exchange, networking, and global communities. While all these are already true to a certain extent, we also experience major side-effects and threats to Democracies — such as Fake News, Information overload, phenomena like distorted reality, and more. Could AI help us make better sense of the digital world we have created? How could AI help people make wiser decisions about the politicians they select? How could governments leverage AI to better connect with people and the global socio-economic system? How could AI make ‘running a country’ simpler and more transparent?

Q17. AUTONOMOUS LETHAL WEAPONS — HOW CAN WE GET PROTECTED?
Achieving an advanced level of machine autonomy in the context of weapons is scary. What could be done in this direction to protect the world? Is there a technological way to reduce the risks?

Q18. CAN AI HELP US SOLVE HUMANITY’S BURNING PROBLEMS LIKE CLIMATE CHANGE?
In the era of IoT (Internet of Things), properly trained AI models can optimize and orchestrate industrial and commercial activities — from an energy consumption point of view. It can also help people and companies to consume energy wisely and actively participate in a global effort towards sustainability. How could this vision become a reality? Who should orchestrate such a program? How could AI help us protect the environment, the planet, the humankind?

Q19. HOW IS AI CHANGING THE GLOBAL, GEOPOLITICAL SYSTEM?
Advanced AI technology is becoming a strategic asset for nations, an essential infrastructure capable of shaping future economies and defining new relationships among countries, companies, and global organizations. There is a global race in developing the most advanced AI technologies and organizing the richest data sets that powers AI models. How will this re-form the global geopolitical system? What are the risks in this area? What are the opportunities? Could AI lead the global system into a new order?

Q20. WILL AI BECOME CAPABLE OF REPLICATING OR REDEFINING ITSELF?
Will we ever reach a point where AI creates new forms of intelligence? Will AI ever develop consciousness?

Each of the above questions is answered by various leaders, providing a diversity of thought and unique perspectives — in many cases interesting disagreements that set a great basis for a healthy debate.

The book is produced in the spirit of ‘open collaboration’ — the intent is knowledge-sharing — and hence the eBook is available for free (Coming early May 2022). You may register here.

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Author of https://www.theinnovationmode.com/ and 60leaders.com Opinions and views are my own

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George Krasadakis

George Krasadakis

Author of https://www.theinnovationmode.com/ and 60leaders.com Opinions and views are my own

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