On 19th February 2019, Connectome organized its first meetup in Singapore named “Human X AI”. The goal of the meetup was for our speakers to discuss topics such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), problems in various areas faced by modern day societies and how AI could be applied creatively to improve the status quo.
The ‘Human X AI’ meetup commenced with a Japanese-themed buffet catered by ‘KuishinBo’ where participants were given a chance to chit-chat about the topics being addressed while enjoying delightful, mouth-watering dishes and drinks.
This was followed by a presentation by each of the speakers on the panel and ended with an interactive ‘Fireside Chat’ where members of the audience were able to get answers to questions they had regarding the topics addressed earlier.
Kicking off the presentation segment was none other than Connectome’s very own Atsushi Ishii, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Couger & Co-Founder of Connectome. In his presentation titled ‘Think Human’, he gave a brief introduction of Connectome as a company and then made use of a video clip from the movie ‘Blade Runner’ to illustrate a scene from the future which he envisions.
In the mentioned video clip, the AI shown is capable of aiding humans with a multitude of tasks, each entailing differing levels of complexity. He then states confidently that this is the future that the current path of technology will eventually lead to, one where AI and the technology related to it are commonplace in our everyday lives.
He concluded his presentation by touching on topics such as blockchain, a digital marketplace, ways how AI could be utilized and how these topics tie in with the vision that Connectome has for its products.
Following this, our second guest speaker, Patty Lee took the stage with her presentation titled ‘How Do We Exploit AI For Social Good?’. Patty Lee is a Founding Team Member of Ocean Protocol as well as the Founder & Managing Director of WorldTrainer.
Patty began her presentation by illustrating the relationship between AI and data, explaining how AI is enhanced and improved on continuously through the analysis and processing of different data sets. She then brought up the two main demographics within the community, namely those who desire data and lack access to it and those who possess such data and want to reap gains through commercializing it.
Ocean Protocol was then introduced by Patty as a medium connecting people belonging to the two demographics mentioned, allowing both to gain from collaboration and thus creating a win-win situation for all parties.
The last presentation came from our third guest speaker, Scott Jones from Six Kin Development. Scott is currently the Managing Director of Six Kin Development and was formerly an educator at Nanyang Polytechnic.
In his presentation, Scott talked about the topic of AI and how it is interlinked with several key concepts such as blockchain and smart contracts. He also mentioned the potential drawbacks of having a centralised AI and in turn proposed the idea of establishing a decentralised AI to circumvent these anticipated issues.
Following this, Scott then touched on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically the one pertaining to education and its availability. He described the various problems faced presently in the education sector globally and the versatility of AI in resolving these issues. In a bid to resolve this problem, ‘Pandai’ was conceived.
‘Pandai’ is an advanced AI teacher with capabilities that have not yet been seen in any of its counterparts. Scott explains that ‘Pandai’ will be able to solve the issue of limited resources in providing education globally through a low-cost, yet highly effective solution such as giving free access to ‘Pandai’ to those who are in need.
Finally, Scott mentioned that ‘Pandai’ is a small part of the third wave of AI which will occur sometime in the next decade. He strongly believes that AI and relevant technology in the third wave of AI will be the answer to many of the problems faced today.
Before the ‘Human X AI’ meetup drew to close on the evening of 19th February, a Fireside Chat moderated by Soh Wan Wei, Connectome’s Head of Content Strategy, was held where participants raised many intriguing questions.
One such question was regarding the possibility of AI becoming so advanced that they will be able to outperform humans at their jobs, therefore replacing humans and causing us to become unemployed. The panel of speakers responded by largely agreeing that although certain low-skilled jobs which employ human labour will eventually be phased out with the advancement of technology, certain occupations that require human judgement cannot be mechanised. Therefore, they feel that it is an undue worry.
Scott added on to the above question that he feels that AI should be making that a reality as humans are not meant to lead lives doing menial work and instead we should be living our lives to the fullest, that is the entire reason why we developed AI in the first place.
Another question which stood out was regarding the possible developments of AI and the vision of an AI translator being realised. The panel of speakers agreed that this is a possible development which might take place in the future. However, they believe that the level of technology which we are currently at is not sophisticated enough to achieve.
Patty brought up a point which was very relevant to the discussion by stating that even if we do manage to overcome the obstacles that we currently face in developing AI to learn multiple languages, we also have to solve the issue of teaching AI the nuances behind words and sentences which may contain hidden meanings which AI would not be able to understand as they would take words for what they mean on the surface level.
In conclusion, both the speakers and participants alike exhibited their zeal and passion for the topics touched on during that evening, indicating the promising potential for growth in the AI and technology fields in Singapore.
Photos Credits: Kelsea Koh / 1 Media Creations