A report by a panel of experts chaired by a Brown professor concludes that AI has made a major leap from the lab to people’s lives in recent years, which increases the urgency to understand its potential negative effects.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – Artificial intelligence has reached a critical turning point in its evolution, according to a new report by an international panel of experts assessing the state of the field.
Substantial advances in language processing, computer vision and pattern recognition mean that AI is touching people’s lives on a daily basis – from helping people to choose a movie to aiding in medical diagnoses. With that success, however, comes a renewed urgency to understand and mitigate the risks and downsides of AI-driven systems, such as algorithmic discrimination or use of AI for deliberate deception. Computer scientists must work with experts in the social sciences and law to assure that the pitfalls of AI are minimized.
Those conclusions are from a report titled “Gathering Strength, Gathering Storms: The One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100) 2021 Study Panel Report,” which was compiled by a panel of experts from computer science, public policy, psychology, sociology and other disciplines. AI100 is an ongoing project hosted by the Stanford University Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence that aims to monitor the progress of AI and guide its future development. This new report, the second to be released by the AI100 project, assesses developments in AI between 2016 and 2021.
“In the past five years, AI has made the leap from something that mostly happens in research labs or other highly controlled settings to something that’s out in society affecting people’s lives,” said Michael Littman, a professor of computer science at Brown University who chaired the report panel. “That’s really exciting, because this technology is doing some amazing things that we could only dream about five or 10 years ago. But at the same time, the field is coming to grips with the societal impact of this technology, and I think the next frontier is thinking about ways we can get the benefits from AI while minimizing the risks.”
The report, released on Thursday, Sept. 16, is structured to answer a set of 14 questions probing critical areas of AI development. The questions were developed by the AI100 standing committee consisting of a renowned group of AI leaders. The committee then assembled a panel of 17 researchers and experts to answer them. The questions include “What are the most important advances in AI?” and “What are the most inspiring open grand challenges?” Other questions address the major risks and dangers of AI, its effects on society, its public perception and the future of the field.