Last Tuesday, I attended a Connectome Meetup titled “Human x AI”. Guests were welcomed and treated to a scrumptious and hearty meal by KuishinBo, in the true omotenashi Japanese-style.
Everyone was excited about the first ever Connectome Meetup in 2019! After a satisfying dinner came the first talk, “Think Human” by Atsushi Ishii.
Atsushi Ishii started with an introduction of Connectome’s achievements and impact in the AI industry, including Connectome’s media features and advancements. After that, he screened a short clip on the Blade Runner movie with the intention of depicting AI/VHA as the natural future of our lives.
Atsushi Ishii then touched on the mission of Connectome, introducing what Connectome does, to approach the potential, reliability and uses of AI/VHA in our everyday lives. He then ended his presentation by going into the marketplace that is powered by blockchain, and explained about the incentivization mechanism, liquidity and digital ownership.
His talk was followed by a presentation by Patty Lee– the PR director of Ocean Protocol– on “How to exploit AI for our own social good”.
Patty started by drawing a parallel between AI and data. She then distinguished between AI consumers who have algorithms and want to gain access to quality data and data providers who have data and want to monetize the data. Finally, she introduced the
The last speaker of the night was by Scott Jones, on how AI can help achieve the UN’s sustainability Development Goals.
Scott started off with the statistics of how AI can help address the problem of poverty and unequal wealth distribution, as well as the problems with the centralized AI today. He proposed a few solutions for such problems, with an overarching notion of the use of decentralized AI. SingularityNET, a new decentralized AI marketplace and the use of blockchain, smart contracts and standard API were amongst the solutions proposed.
He then went on to touch on education and the problems with education today. The current efforts, including One Laptop per Child (OLPC) and Google
He concluded the presentation with an insight into the four waves of AI:
- First generation-1970s to 1990s;
- Second generation-2000s to present
- Third Generation-2020s to 2030; and
- Fourth Generation is estimated to begin in 2030s onwards.
Concluding his talk, he spoke confidently and promisingly of the “Third wave” AI being able to provide quality education for
After a short break, the event resumed with the last segment– the Fireside Chat. This engaging Fireside Chat that was moderated professionally by Wan Wei.
The first question that came from the audience was the concern of AI taking over the jobs of humans. Scott Jones jumped onto this question immediately stating that he does want AI to take over our jobs. Slightly unexpected, he then explained that humans are not meant to be overworked like we are today, we should live a life that we enjoy. Thus, AI should be seen as an assistan to humans and not a threat.
The second question was about whether people can ever fully trust AI. A common consensus amongst the three speakers was that there have been unrealistic expectations that set the bar very high for AI. The only way for people to truly trust AI is when AI becomes more like us or we progressively become more like them. Just like our reliance on technological devices, people will start to trust AI when they see that AI continuously performs and works well for them.
The third discussion revolved around the topic of whether AI would cause human beings to lose the human touch in society. One interesting case that was brought up was on a programme already in place in California, where people with depression can phone up a robot hotline where they speak with robots about their problems. The use of AI as a friend has proved effective for many cases and has been very helpful to many people. That aside, Patty did expound on the limitations of AI, such as how healthcare is one industry that AI would not be able to be empathetic to humans.
Lastly, the speakers were asked on their opinions on the myths people have about AI. Scott had a very interesting statement that people are afraid of AI and think that they are out to take our jobs and kill us because of many action movies that portray technology that way. He believes that there will not be a super existential threat, and that AI is created by humans and we have the ability to stop it before that happens.
Another point to note is that many people also think its “Us vs AI”. However, many visions of the future of AI/VHA is that of a harmonious co-living and working space shared between humans and AI.
The floor was then opened to questions and many interesting questions were asked by the audience. Certain questions that stood out included one about how long it will take us to create an AI that can understand and translate multiple languages. The speakers mentioned the technologies in place now such as Google Home and Google Translate. However, these technologies have low translation levels and cannot match what a human can do. Scott then gave a rough estimate of about ten years to get to that level of technological advancement, stating that there will a lot of these improvements in the third wave of AI.
Wan Wei added some insight to the progress of the tech team in Japan experimenting with tone analysis, also expressing her excitement for such technologies to be available. Some members of the audience were part of start-ups, hence an important question raised was how these start-ups can tap into the AI market/service. The speakers were in agreement to a few steps start-ups can take, namely identifying a problem and finding a solution. Scott mentions a useful tip where we should not think of how to use AI but to see how AI can
The Connectome meetup ended with much appreciation for the very knowledgeable and passionate speakers, as well as the very enthusiastic and earnest audience. We definitely enjoyed the meet-up very much!