The topic of artificial intelligence is omnipresent and we will occasionally publish articles of a slightly different kind in our BoardNews. What is Artificial Intelligence? Our BoardClub member and AI expert Prof. Dr. Sita Mazumder conveys a picture in this issue. What is Artificial Intelligence? Our BoardClub member and AI expert Prof. Dr. Sita Mazumder says it’s like asking what is business management – it’s a big area and therefore it’s difficult to answer in three sentences. AI comprises algorithms, methods and technologies that can learn and develop independently in some way. She adds as a metaphor: We can understand the way we humans deal with artificial intelligence, just as we can in raising children. A child is a unit that learns independently in different ways and at different speeds. Parents accompany this learning attentively and in a controlling way, by exemplifying rules and values or by pretending (Big Data) and giving feedback on the child’s behaviour. Depending on the educational method, the child learns with more or less guidelines and interventions. The baby is pre-programmed by the genes. It is able and knows little at the beginning and with increasing age the repertoire and granularity grows due to the experiences made (learned rules). Parents embark on a great adventure by starting a family – an experiment. We see successful and less successful education in the world. This has a lot to do with the resonance between parents and child. And with the integrity of the data the child receives: If the talking does not coincide with the person’s example or pretence, the child will be irritated, as will neglect and violence. Learning is disturbed. Shit in – shit out. This is also the case with artificial intelligence.
Is an algorithm capable of empathy? We discussed this question at the Swiss Economic Forum. Many people may doubt that. We believe that artificial intelligence will soon be able to simulate more empathy than some people are able to bring with them. But how? Face, voice and speech recognition are so advanced that algorithms are able to recognize a person’s personal predispositions, moods and drivers. There is already an app that suggests type-appropriate behavioral and communication tips for managers. Adding up, an application is created that interacts sensitively with a wide variety of individuals. Researchers are still trying to physically recreate human beings for this purpose. The robot “Pepper” looks like a child with limbs, head and face. The younger “Cimon” is merely an oversized sphere with a screen that displays eyes and mouth. At home we communicate with faceless objects called “Alexa”, “Siri”, “Cortana” & Co. It is the quality of the resonance, not the form, that finally determines the effect.
#inclusiveculture and AI
The more diverse the research teams, the richer the repertoire of digital assistants. Diversity and, in particular, a culture of inclusion and cooperation are the foundations of success in leading tech companies. (Almost) Gone are the days when speech recognition only worked with male voices and face recognition only with whites. Living inclusion opens up new fields of business.
Society is ageing and soon there will be too few workers and volunteers to care well for the elderly. Digital assistants will then be able to have in-depth conversations that will alleviate loneliness and identify and report incidents, which will significantly reduce health care costs. Thanks to the voices of their loved ones, images of their lives and the songs of their youth, people with dementia can also be cared for by machine and experience a better quality of life than if only people cared for them. This is still a strange thought to which we will soon become familiar. To be continued.