I have written that I want to make a positive contribution to this world and when I work on machine learning and artificial intelligence. Does it fit together? What is the positive contribution of artificial intelligence today?
Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Siri, self-driving cars, intelligent websites bring a wave of artificial intelligence that is just beginning to emerge. In the media, these are often criticized. Is the permissive handling of our data justifiable? Without our data, without a lot of data, machine learning and artificial intelligence do not work. Are we ready to pay this price?
If you want to deal with artificial intelligence, then I recommend you read the novel “1984” by George Orwell. Orwell wrote it in 1947/1948, it was published in 1949, and it is more relevant than ever. “Big Brother is watching you!” In this novel, we accompany Winston, who works at the Ministry of Truth and rewrites newspaper articles, predicting that the government will be true in the archive, even if it does not happen. And like all citizens, Winston is watched day and night via telescreens in his home and at work. The telescreens are reminiscent of devices such as Amazon Alexa, who are also listening – and soon watching, as the telescreens in the novel “1984”. What appeared as crazy science fiction years ago, is happening today. Read the novel and picture the world that we could create with artificial intelligence.
New technologies are neutral. Like a kitchen knife. It can be used for cooking, or it can hurt people. Both the good and the bad are possible. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite to do something good. He wanted to simplify mining. He did that too. But then dynamite was also used to wage wars. This has bothered Nobel so much that he used his fortune to make the Nobel prizes possible.
Every new technology is in this dichotomy. Since the Stone Age. The spear provided food when an animal was killed. And he was also used for fighting between humans. The same sides exist in the steam engine, electricity, engines, airplanes, nuclear fission, whatever.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are also capable of making people’s lives easier, autonomous vehicles will make the roads safer, and we will not waste time in congestion, but use it. The downsides could be comprehensive monitoring and transparency of my data. Who knows?
I am looking forward to working with new technologies. I think the world will get a little better in the end. “Technology as a force for good,” said VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. That’s true. But we also need to reflect and consider ethical issues. The ethics of new technologies, that is a field of its own, an important field. We must be careful that we do not neglect that with all progress.
This is a core theme for my work at VMware.