Artificial intelligence

Is AI an opportunity or a threat?

Video interview with the Canadian scientist father of Deep Learning on the state of the art and future of a technology that, in one way or another, will change our lives. (HANDLE)

By Alessio Jacona *

The unstoppable success and spread of artificial intelligence are there for all to see.

The question is whether this pervasive technology will help us solve our problems – even the most complex ones – as some promise, or whether it will prove to be a threat as others fear, including the likes of Bill Gates and Elon Musk.

“Given that no one really knows what will happen in the near future, I can say that I am both optimistic but also very worried.”

Speaking is

Yoshua Bengio, founder and scientific director of the Mila – Quebec AI Institute

, winner of the prestigious Turing Award in 2018, and unanimously considered one of the fathers of deep learning, that is the set of techniques based on artificial neural networks and inspired by the functioning of the brain.

His interview (in English, which we propose in a video lasting 15 minutes) opened the conference

The Next Big Things

, organized by

IIT-CNR together with ANSA

and dedicated to the topics of artificial intelligence, quantum internet and quantum computing .

“I am optimistic because I think that AI can offer and indeed has already offered extremely useful and important services to society – continues Bengio – making itself useful in fields such as the fight against climate change, health care, education or even the industrial efficiency and services.

What we see today is just the tip of the iceberg ».

What worries the scientist a lot is instead «the risk that very powerful tools such as AI could be used by criminal organizations or authoritarian and military governments to control people, for example to force them to vote in one way or to buy what they want.

As AI becomes more powerful, at the same time it becomes easier to do these things ».

So the question is, how can we make sure it’s used in positive ways and avoid dangerous ones?

«The important thing to keep in mind – explains Yoshua Bengio – is that we design the AI, and therefore we have the possibility to choose which form to give it.

And then, again, that it is always us who define policies and laws, and that precisely for this reason we have the possibility to plan our future.

Of course it is not easy, and perhaps we will find ourselves having to change many things, sometimes advancing by trial and error, but we must strive to build a positive rather than destructive future, and I believe we can do it ».

During his speech, Yoshua Bengio also responds to four others regarding what AI is today and why it has become so relevant in our society;

What is the role of deep learning in human development of AI and how it works;

What are the limitations of current AI and, finally, how researchers are trying to overcome them.

Here the video:

* Journalist, innovation expert and curator of the Artificial Intelligence Observatory


Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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