2 items tagged "research "

  • Exploring the risks of artificial intelligence

    shutterstock 117756049“Science has not yet mastered prophecy. We predict too much for the next year and yet far too little for the next ten.”

    These words, articulated by Neil Armstrong at a speech to a joint session of Congress in 1969, fit squarely into most every decade since the turn of the century, and it seems to safe to posit that the rate of change in technology has accelerated to an exponential degree in the last two decades, especially in the areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

    Artificial intelligence is making an extreme entrance into almost every facet of society in predicted and unforeseen ways, causing both excitement and trepidation. This reaction alone is predictable, but can we really predict the associated risks involved?

    It seems we’re all trying to get a grip on potential reality, but information overload (yet another side affect that we’re struggling to deal with in our digital world) can ironically make constructing an informed opinion more challenging than ever. In the search for some semblance of truth, it can help to turn to those in the trenches.

    In my continued interview with over 30 artificial intelligence researchers, I asked what they considered to be the most likely risk of artificial intelligence in the next 20 years.

    Some results from the survey, shown in the graphic below, included 33 responses from different AI/cognitive science researchers. (For the complete collection of interviews, and more information on all of our 40+ respondents, visit the original interactive infographic here on TechEmergence).

    Two “greatest” risks bubbled to the top of the response pool (and the majority are not in the autonomous robots’ camp, though a few do fall into this one). According to this particular set of minds, the most pressing short- and long-term risks is the financial and economic harm that may be wrought, as well as mismanagement of AI by human beings.

    Dr. Joscha Bach of the MIT Media Lab and Harvard Program for Evolutionary Dynamics summed up the larger picture this way:

    “The risks brought about by near-term AI may turn out to be the same risks that are already inherent in our society. Automation through AI will increase productivity, but won’t improve our living conditions if we don’t move away from a labor/wage based economy. It may also speed up pollution and resource exhaustion, if we don’t manage to install meaningful regulations. Even in the long run, making AI safe for humanity may turn out to be the same as making our society safe for humanity.”

    Essentially, the introduction of AI may act as a catalyst that exposes and speeds up the imperfections already present in our society. Without a conscious and collaborative plan to move forward, we expose society to a range of risks, from bigger gaps in wealth distribution to negative environmental effects.

    Leaps in AI are already being made in the area of workplace automation and machine learning capabilities are quickly extending to our energy and other enterprise applications, including mobile and automotive. The next industrial revolution may be the last one that humans usher in by their own direct doing, with AI as a future collaborator and – dare we say – a potential leader.

    Some researchers believe it’s a matter of when and not if. In Dr. Nils Nilsson’s words, a professor emeritus at Stanford University, “Machines will be singing the song, ‘Anything you can do, I can do better; I can do anything better than you’.”

    In respect to the drastic changes that lie ahead for the employment market due to increasingly autonomous systems, Dr. Helgi Helgason says, “it’s more of a certainty than a risk and we should already be factoring this into education policies.”

    Talks at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Switzerland this past January, where the topic of the economic disruption brought about by AI was clearly a main course, indicate that global leaders are starting to plan how to integrate these technologies and adapt our world economies accordingly – but this is a tall order with many cooks in the kitchen.

    Another commonly expressed risk over the next two decades is the general mismanagement of AI. It’s no secret that those in the business of AI have concerns, as evidenced by the $1 billion investment made by some of Silicon Valley’s top tech gurus to support OpenAI, a non-profit research group with a focus on exploring the positive human impact of AI technologies.

    “It’s hard to fathom how much human-level AI could benefit society, and it’s equally hard to imagine how much it could damage society if built or used incorrectly,” is the parallel message posted on OpenAI’s launch page from December 2015. How we approach the development and management of AI has far-reaching consequences, and shapes future society’s moral and ethical paradigm.

    Philippe Pasquier, an associate professor at Simon Fraser University, said “As we deploy more and give more responsibilities to artificial agents, risks of malfunction that have negative consequences are increasing,” though he likewise states that he does not believe AI poses a high risk to society on its own.

    With great responsibility comes great power, and how we monitor this power is of major concern.

    Dr. Pei Wang of Temple University sees major risk in “neglecting the limitations and restrictions of hot techniques like deep learning and reinforcement learning. It can happen in many domains.” Dr. Peter Voss, founder of SmartAction, expressed similar sentiments, stating that he most fears “ignorant humans subverting the power and intelligence of AI.”

    Thinking about the risks associated with emerging AI technology is hard work, engineering potential solutions and safeguards is harder work, and collaborating globally on implementation and monitoring of initiatives is the hardest work of all. But considering all that’s at stake, I would place all my bets on the table and argue that the effort is worth the risk many times over.

    Source: Tech Crunch

  • The rise of Online Communities as the centre of market research

    The rise of Online Communities as the centre of market research

    Once believed to be a minor player, online communities have become a central pillar of an effective research strategy now that consumers, governments, and companies rely on virtual interactions.

    Online Research Communities have been growing in importance as a central pillar of an effective research strategy for many years due to the benefits they unlock: centralized research management, ongoing engagement with important constituencies, flexibility of methodology deployment, and ROI to name just a few. However, prior to 2020, they were not necessarily strategically mission-critical.

    Like so much in our world, the impact of Covid-19 has changed that.

    As the crisis unfolded in Q1/Q2, we saw several dramatic changes that impacted research organizations rapidly:

    1. Communication became almost entirely digitally centric, with face-to-face interactions curtailed virtually to the point of complete cessation for large portions of the population.
    2. Consumer behaviors, values, and planning began to shift in response to new realities. Maslow’s Hierarchy was validated once again as many people were focused on safety and security as primary motivators in a way unseen outside of wartime.
    3. Brands, governments, NGOs, and all companies who serve them were under immense pressure to urgently engage and understand these changes in both immediate and long-term contexts.
    4. Budget pressures increased for many buyers of research, with some under extreme duress, while their information needs were only increasing.
    5. Social and emotional impacts for many people were extreme, resulting in a newfound willingness, even need, to connect with others including researchers.

    Those are just the most obvious trends, but they clearly pointed to the Online Community as a potential solution, and we saw that reflected in the business performance of the category. Recollective and virtually every company that offers solutions in the Community/Digital Qualitative space saw a massive and incredibly rapid shift to their platforms in response to new market dynamics. This shift has also spurred a new surge of innovation as supplier companies rise to the occasion to meet the evolving needs of users.

    Online Communities are here to stay

    For those of us that have been advocates of communities and virtual qualitative for many years, this shift made perfect sense, as previously outlined herein. However, the question before us now is whether this was a short-term reaction or a long-term strategic shift? Certainly, it started as the former, but I believe it is now the latter. Covid-19 has been the impetus for a “tipping point”, and there is no going back now. The key stakeholder groups have adapted to what truly is the “new normal” in the research world:

    • Buyers of research have been convinced that they can successfully duplicate the information needs of qualitative research in an online environment while saving the expense and liability issues associated with face-to-face research. Unless the research requires some level of sensory input (touch, taste, smell) or has an experiential component (car clinics, shop alongs, etc..) virtual qual is here to stay and will be the new majority use method.
    • Consumers are now comfortable engaging via video for almost all aspects of information sharing and allowing others into their lives via video. The ubiquity of cameras in a myriad of devices combined with continual enhancements to internet bandwidth makes the barrier to usage minimal in most of the developed world, and with the scaling of internet satellite systems, soon the whole world.
    • Users of research now know they can get information needs met quickly via digital channels and can cost-effectively build long-term engagement channels with constituent groups relatively easily. They are seeing the ROI of insights, especially proprietary communities and panels, and will continue to support them.

    With all these factors in mind, I think it is clear now that we will continue to see the large-scale adoption of online communities as one of the central pillars of research operations, and the development of further innovations to increase cost and speed efficiencies while empowering greater quality and impact of insights. I wish it hadn’t taken a global pandemic and all the negative aspects of this situation for so many to get here, but Necessity is the Mother of Invention and I am grateful companies like Recollective and their peers were here to help make the transition as easy as possible. The world has changed, but Online Research Communities and all the great benefits they provide are here to stay.

    Author: Leonard Murphy

    Source: Greenbook

EasyTagCloud v2.8