Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the heart of the fourth industrial revolution we find ourselves immersed in. AI is the discipline within IT or engineering whose objective is the development of intelligent (non-biological) computer systems, taking human intelligence as a benchmark. In the same way that human intelligence is diverse, complex and multiple, Artificial Intelligence has many areas of research.
It has great transformational power since it is transversal (in other words, it can be applied to any sphere of society and knowledge, including areas as important as medicine, education, banking, industry, commerce, digital services, science, etc..), invisible (in other words, it is software), scalable and complex (also enabling us to manage and interpret the complexity), updatable (because it is software) and with the capacity not only to explain the past and interpret the present, but also to make future predictions. At the same time, AI has other characteristics that are not so positive: firstly, it generates asymmetric situations (with respect to the data required to train the AI algorithms and with respect to the availability of the capabilities and means required to be able to take advantage of AI); secondly, by being software, it is not invulnerable and can be hacked; finally, by using AI techniques, we can generate synthetic content (text, video, images or audio) that is totally indistinguishable from real content.
More than 25 countries around the world have developed their national AI strategies to ensure that the country is not left behind in this revolution
Given the importance of AI and the challenges it presents, more than 25 countries around the world have developed their national AI strategies to ensure, on the one hand, that the country is not left behind in this revolution and, on the other, to optimise and maximise the positive impact of AI on society. In this context, two autonomous communities (Catalonia and the Valencian Community) have also published their AI strategies. The strategy of the Valencian Community stands out for its three pillars that define the route map for AI investment and development: competitiveness, inclusivity and a focus on the wellbeing of people and the planet. We cannot forget that there are tremendous opportunities in the application of AI in the public sector, to help us make better decisions –based on evidence— that impact on the lives of millions of people.
Unfortunately, Europe is lagging behind the USA and China in the development of AI. Therefore, European researchers have mobilised, and we have created ELLIS, the European Laboratory of Learning and Intelligent Systems. Our aim is to attract, retain and nurture excellent talent in Artificial Intelligence in Europe. A few weeks ago, ELLIS announced the establishment of 17 ELLIS research nodes in Europe, including a node in Alicante, which I am in the process of creating. It will be focused on the research of people-centred Artificial Intelligence with three research areas: the computer modelling of human behaviour using artificial intelligence techniques; the development of intelligent and interactive systems and the resolution of the limitations to current Artificial Intelligence systems, including algorithmic bias, lack of transparency, opacity with regard to the allocation of responsibility, subliminal manipulation of human behaviour, the generation of untrue content (deep fakes).
This last research area is very much in line with the ethical framework for the development of Artificial Intelligence I propose, and which is captured in the acronym FATEN:
-F for fairness or justice, in other words, without discrimination.
-A for autonomy, in other words, guaranteeing that everyone has the freedom of thought and action without being manipulated by AI algorithms; A for accountability, in other words, with clear allocation of the responsibility for the consequences of the use of AI; and A for a rise in human intelligence rather than its replacement.
-T for trust, confidence and T for transparency.
-E for education, investing in the transformation of education on all levels, from compulsory education to the education of professionals and citizens; E for equality, ensuring that the development of AI contributes to achieving more equality in the world; and E for efficiency, in other words, maximising the positive impact with truthfulness, sustainability and diversity.
-N for non-maleficence, in other words, minimising the negative impact with guarantees of reproducibility, security, reliability and always preserving people’s privacy.
It will only be when we respect these requirements that we will be capable of progressing and achieving one of my dreams: a model for democratic governance based on data and Artificial Intelligence by and for the people.