There’s nothing like a few bracing walks in the crisp country air to clear the cobwebs out of your mind and build up some perspective on the developments of the past year. At least that’s what I’ve found myself doing during my daily peregrinations along the rutted paths of the fenscape.
Not surprisingly given the speed with which it has replaced IoT as the high-tech buzzword du jour, the subject of AI has been prominent in my thoughts. Are we really moving towards the long-predicted singularity in which the machines take charge and destroy humanity or are we going to harness this technology to help us solve the great challenges of our time such as climate change?
If history is any guide, the answer will lie somewhere between these two extremes. While we have to be mindful of the privacy and security risks that AI poses, the technology offers huge potential for delivering dramatic improvements to healthcare, education, transportation, finance, energy production, and environmental protection to name just a few applications. The key is to manage the development and proliferation of the technology in a balanced and ethical manner in which the public, private, academic, and voluntary sectors work closely together to share knowledge and set the appropriate development, implementation, and privacy protection guidelines.
Naturally, there’s still a lot of work that has to be done before it will be possible to achieve this objective, but already there is strong global awareness of the need to move in this direction and growing cooperation on AI-related initiatives.
Now that the AI genie is out of the bottle, there’s no way of stuffing it back inside it. At the risk of sounding idealistic, it’s the responsibility of everyone to make sure that the technology is rolled out responsibly and for the good of all of us.