AI will help solve global environmental issues
Need for countries to create a framework for trustworthy AI highlighted at Artelligence 2019.
The solution to solving several pressing environmental issues around the world will come from AI and the Internet of Things (IoT), experts at the 2019 Artelligence - The Artificial Intelligence Forum said.
Andrea Renda, member of the AI Expert Group at the European Commission, highlighted the need for countries to create a framework for trustworthy AI, which will be critical in helping to resolve key issues such as climate change, agricultural yields and deteriorating ocean health.
"The applications that are needed to fix environmental and societal issues around the world will come from AI and IoT," he said.
"Already we are working on several cases where we are using AI to monitor agriculture to ensure that we are not using harmful pesticides and the right amount of fertiliser. We are also working on cases where we monitor the health of our oceans by looking at their salinity and temperature levels. The key element in all of these cases are sensors and partnerships with institutions such as universities that specialise in these fields."
Renda also highlighted how the AI revolution has just started, and that Europe has the chance to lead the world with ethical AI. "However, we can't accomplish this alone. Europe needs allies, and our aim is to work with like-minded partners to launch a global debate on ethically aligned, trustworthy AI. AI is a means, not an end. Current efforts are, unfortunately, distracting valuable resources from 'AI for good', and towards a digital arms race."
Another challenge, he said, comes in the form of creating legislation. "It is a difficult path to follow when it comes to ensuring transparency and accountability but, at the same time, not stifling innovation with red tape."
Similarly, Ian Fletcher, Institute for Business Value director for the Middle East and Africa at IBM, urged businesses to carefully think about trust, ethics, and transparency in AI, especially in light of the fusion of our physical, digital, and biological worlds.
"Digital twinning is going to become a big part of our future," he said. "Will man and machine come together? Yes, they will. We will end up in a world that will be unrecognisable in the future. According to the World Economic Forum, we will have at least one robotic AI on the board of directors by 2030. We have a huge societal decision to make in the near future regarding technologies such as AI."
Fletcher also highlighted several milestones that have been achieved in healthcare through new technologies. "Hospitals have successfully printed organs and are looking at ways in which AI can be used to detect and battle various cancers. IBM has already made a commitment to curing cancer through AI. The purpose of AI is to augment human intelligence. New technology, including AI systems, must be transparent and explainable without bias."
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