MICROSOFT CEO Satya Nadella has said that we need to create a "set of design principals" for artificial intelligence (AI) in order to ensure it doesn't threaten the future of the human race.
Nadella, speaking at the launch of his book 'Hit Refresh' in London last week, echoed the likes of Elon Musk and Stephen Hawkins with his remarks that it's "up to us" as humans to govern AI.
"Stephen Hawking asked, 'What if AI becomes more intelligent than us and we couldn't control it?' My only point is it's up to us: How do we approach this with a set of design principles that allow us to control what AI creates?" said Nadella.
There's good AI, and design of AI is our responsibility. Depending on how we create that first AI, the second step will be down to that.
"I think it's time to act," he concluded.
Nadella put forth the opinion that there are still "many, many unsolved problems in research" around AI, and its designers need to go back to grassroots levels to get the fundamental steps right rather than leaving the process too late and having no way to double back.
"There's algorithms making decisions. I wrote in [Hit Refresh], 'How can we make AI more intelligent?' That's one of the challenges. And how can we be accountable? We can't just say 'I dunno - this algorithm is running on its own' - we need to take responsibility.
Nadella also had some words about the job market, commenting on widespread fears that AI will take human jobs.
The CEO called out the infamous "lump of labour fallacy", which suggests that an economy has only a set number of jobs that need doing, and which many now fear will be taken up by AI, leaving them jobless.
Nadella named an example of Microsoft's research labs and international medical schools in Cambridge and Washington that have AI planning out surgery by analysing radiology slides.
"You have to go through all the images and make sure you're getting the tumour and not the vital organs. And that's a time-consuming process and takes time away from patients," he said, suggesting that with this technology, overburdened medical staff are more likely to be able to turn their time to treating the afflicted than looking at slides.
"So that's the first step. But let's take that to extremes: We should not fall foul of this 'lump of labour; fallacy that all jobs in the future have been defined," he warned.
"We need to work on getting all our people skilled. If there's a higher return on capital, and declining returns on labour, that's not stable for capital. So we'll need to address this as well. So if we get all this right, we'll be able to define our future." µ
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