Society will interact with machines rather than command them!
If there is one person that has a major experience and a wide view on AI, it’s Johan Loeckx, Lab Manager of AI Lab VUB. Some inspirational thoughts:
You have over 30 years of experience, how did you get into AI?
The excitement of building machines that generate outcomes that you did not expect, that create new knowledge; that are more fun to interact with as they surprise and challenge you.
Is the evolution of AI going step by step, or was there a huge increase? And when? And why?
It is both. There were big philosophical breakthroughs, most in the 60ies and 70ies and before by pioneers like Shannon, Simon, Solomonoff, Papert, Minsky and others. There were important ones at the mathematical/formalism level. And these days a lot of computer science and AI engineering related ones (e.g. deep learning). We need all three! For example, the concept of Reinforcement Learning stems from pyschological experiments (behaviourism), uses the sound mathematical concept of Markovian Decision Processess, and a lot of smart Computer Engineering.
What is the biggest transformation in AI?
The realization, first explicitly stated by Ada Lovelace, and later during WW2, that numbers can represent information, and then, that information can represent the real world. Or maybe it started with Plato’s allegory of the cave: representation of the real world remains a central theme in AI. Whether it is by the use of logic, or by sensor data right like today.
What will the near future bring?
A society adapting to a fascinating new world where people interact with machines rather than command them, as well as the perversities of micro-personalization and persuasion, privacy breaches, crime supported by AI, intelligent self-organizing cyber-attacks, a reshuffling of many businesses, etc. But maybe most importantly, faster progress in all sciences thanks to the new analysis techniques. AI could be the new statistics.
People tend to be suspicious about AI as it will kill jobs. Is it? And how can companies deal with that?
AI will transform jobs, eliminate some, and introduce new one (e.g. content management for intelligent machines). Compare it with what the computer did to the job of an accountant. Companies can prepare not only by getting their data management right, but also by scrutinizing their processes. And understand that AI is changing the nature of knowledge in the world and organizations.
What will be the biggest challenge we face when it comes to AI?
AI has a great potential right now, but there are also still many challenges to be tackled. Of course, that is the good news, because it means it could remain a disruptive power for some while to come – but only if we keep the human ideas, mental frameworks, and the ways of organizing ourselves in line with the ever-faster technological evolution.
More interesting thoughts and insights from Johan at the AI 4 Business Summit, around 16h30 in Room 1.