'Artificial Intelligence: Friend or Foe?' Adapt AI Citizens' Think In - Science Week 2021 (part 1)

'Artificial Intelligence: Friend or Foe?' Adapt AI Citizens' Think In  - Science Week 2021 (part 1)

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Hello and good evening everybody, and a very big  welcome here to the Radisson Blu hotel in Athlone.   And a special welcome to all those people who are  joining us online and from our remote hubs in Cork   and Dublin. And I'd like to extend a particularly  warm welcome to Robert Troy, Minister of State for   Trade Promotion Digital and Company Regulation at  the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment   and we are expecting the new president of TUS,  Vincent Cunnane to be along later in the evening   too and he will address the room and indeed  our online audience for a couple of minutes   We're here today to allow you to join the  national conversation on Artificial Intelligence   and its impact that it's going to have and indeed  is having on all our lives and the big question we   ask tonight is: 'Is AI a friend or a foe?'. When  posting about the event and those of you that   are online and doing so already and those who  are here in person are in the hubs please use   the hashtag #DiscussAI for any hashtags or any  posting you're doing about this evening's event   we try to get it trending because this is a  part of a series of events that are coming   up over the next few months as well. These events  are run in conjunction with Creating Our Future,   a new government-led initiative launched  recently by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin   and when it gets to thinking about you know data  protection, GDPR , Artificial Intelligence. I'm  

sure a lot of you listening a lot of you joined  in and people in the room tonight are probably   maybe somewhat snowed under by all this new  terminology and wondering what impact it will have   on our own lives. Well from a GDPR perspective I  must say we're taking phone numbers for contact   tracing of people in there in the hubs please  note the day will be destroyed after 28 days in   line with GDPR guidelines but in getting to the  whole conversation and thinking about what AI is   somebody came to my own mind recently and it was  a clip of an interview with Arthur C. Clarke the   science fiction writer, and the futurist. It was  actually used at the very start of the 2015 biopic   on Steve Jobs, and Clarke basically predicted  that when speaking about the interviewer's son   that if we wait until the year 2001, he will  have in his own house at least a console. He   said he was looking at the computers that were  there in 1974 He said this will be small, it'll   be concise and on that console he will be able to  talk through his friendly local computer and get   all the information he needs for everyday life:  bank statements, theatre reservations. All the  

information that in order to deal with and live  in a complex modern society. So this is in 1974.  Bear in mind when he was asked about the potential  decline in social relations brought about by   technology, Clarke responded: in many ways  technology will enrich our societies it will   make it possible for us to live anywhere, adding  that any business person or executive could live   almost anywhere on the planet and still deliver  in their daily job or create or grow a business.   Now if I personally think back to 2001 I was  in my third year of an engineering degree and   at that stage we were still submitting some of  our projects handwritten We were starting to get   used to autocad so if we just all stop and pause  I think that I'm going to say is not that long ago   and this the development and the scale of  change that we've had to deal with since.   There's no doubt times are changing rapidly and  we now inhabit that connected world that Arthur   C. Clarke spoke about back in 1974. I think  the past 18 months have really highlighted that  

the template of a nine to five five day working  week has been completely ripped asunder as well.   Because AI plays a major role in our lives  already many of you are not aware that just   how much of a role it actually plays. It has the  power to change our lives for the greater good,   more productive working environments affording  us all more free time to do what we desire most   and it can be used, it can be a game changer  in terms of the fight against climate change,   in how we educate people, how we care for  the vulnerable people in our societies,   and for members of our communities and how  we integrate people more into our communities   as well. So thank you all for contributing and  giving your time this evening for this workshop.  

Thanks Ronan, and so as Ronan  mentioned I'm Laura Grehen I'm   Education and Public Engagement or as we say EPE   manager with ADAPT and I'm delighted to welcome  you here this evening for Citizens' Think-In   I thought I'd start by answering the question  'What is a Citizens' Think-In?' and probably   many of you are sitting here - hopefully not our  scribes and moderators - but some of you still wondering what have you actually signed up  for this evening. Well, a Citizens' Think-In   is essentially a discussion forum, hopefully  fun one, in which used members of the public   can engage in dialogue and discussion with leading  AI researchers around the role of AI in our lives   and in society more generally. If you're  feeling apprehensive there's no need to be   and you don't need any previous knowledge of  AI in order to be able to participate fully   and what's important to us is that you it's your  views that will help us to understand better   the benefits drawbacks opportunities and risks  associated with emerging AI innovation. You'll   also help us identify and prioritize future  areas for research and when I say us I mean   the ADAPT research centre and here in Athlone  this evening also the advanced technologies   and manufacturing or ATIM cluster and our  industry partners IMR, Mersus and Sidero So, ADAPT just very briefly is the Science  Foundation Ireland research center for AI   driven digital content technology, a nice short  memorable name. We're a university & industry  

research centre with more than 300 researchers  based across eight universities in Ireland   and our research spans many disciplines  including IT, ethics, psychology, healthcare   and much more besides but our work focuses on  the broad area of artificial intelligence or AI   and this evening we've in-person Think-Ins  in three of these universities Dublin City   University, Munster Technological University  in Cork and here we're broadcasting from the   Technological University of the Shannon here  in Athlone. We've also many people joining us   online from other locations around Ireland this  evening and it's important for us to highlight   that the ADAPT research program is very much  human-centric meaning it places the human at the heart of developments in AI and that  that's really why we're here this evening   The event forms part of ADAPT's wider #DiscussAI national conversation on AI and the government's   wider Creating our Future national conversation  on research. Our aims this evening are to help   you learn about AI and the potential and current  role that it plays in your life and in society   And also to help you become more confident in  evaluating the risks benefits opportunities and   challenges presented by emerging science and  technology. And also then importantly to have   a voice on this vital area of research. Your  participation will help us understand better   public views on AI and to identify future research  directions. We'll take notes on the conversation  

as it goes along and this will be done anonymously  so we really do encourage you to feel free to   express your views openly and we'll share a short  summary of the main discussion topics with you   After the event, we'll also publish more in-depth  analysis in a white paper on the Think-In series   early next year and we then share that white paper  and recommendations of relevant policy makers   if you're attending a Think-In in person like  our participants here in Athlone, you'll have   an opportunity to submit research ideas and to  back up the evening by filling out one of these   Creating Our Future postcards that we'll  have available during the break and some of   them are on your tables here. And if you're  participating in an online Think-In you can   submit your ideas not just on AI but on any aspect  of research to the creatingourfuture.ie website   so finally what is our format for this  evening well we're going to start with a   short introduction to AI to get you up to speed on  research in this area and some of the implications   of AI for society this will be done by way of a  short interview with Dr Niall Murray who's here   with us from the ADAPT Centre at the Technological  University of Shannon. We'll then break into small  

groups and so here in Athlone you're already  seated in your groups and you'll you'll discuss   a scenario related to the role of AI devices in  the home and implications for the privacy of the   user. The facilitator at your table or online  breakout room will summarise the discussion   in your small group and the main points of your  discussion with the other attendees at your venue   We'll then have a Eurovision style report back  if all goes well technically and so that we   can see the similarities and differences in the  opinions expressed across the different locations   and finally then we'll open the floor to questions  and answers we'll be aiming to wrap up by 8.15   and we'll have a short break at 20 to 8. but  first before we get started i'm delighted now   to introduce a special guest. Robert Troy TD is  Minister of State with responsibility for trade   promotion digital and company regulation at the  Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment   We're honored to have him here this  evening to share with us the importance   and relevance of the recently published national  AI strategy AI here for good and so Minister Troy,   welcome and over to you. Thank you very much Laura  and good evening everybody to our guests that's  

here this evening and our guests that's tuning in  virtually. I'm delighted to have the opportunity   to share with you and give a brief overview of  the national AI strategy here for good which   was published earlier on this year and can I thank the ATIM cluster for the invitation   I was very pleased to learn that the ATIM  cluster has been supported by my department   through the regional technology a clustering fund.  I believe this cluster is a positive force for   collaboration and innovation and I commend you for  the work that you're doing. I think this evening's   event is timely as we look at how digital  technologies like AI can be transformative for   our economy and indeed for our society. It's also  a great opportunity for us all to exchange views,  

gain insights and explore new areas of  collaboration as we start an intensive period   to encourage the public enterprises and society  to start their digital transformation journey   For many the very idea of Artificial  Intelligence is just science fiction   but in reality it is very much part of  our everyday like computing electricity   and even the steam engine. AI is a general purpose  technology which huge transformative potential in   a wide variety of sectors and with implications  for the whole of society In the wake of the COVID   crisis and with signs of hope now on the horizon  it's time to look forward to the opportunities   presented by new technologies such as AI for  building our economic and social recovery.   AI and other digital technologies can help us in  creating the economy and society we would like,  greener, more productive, more competitive and  more resilient. Given its wide application to all   sectors and its high capacity for impact growth  and contribution to improving competitiveness,   AI is one of the technologies with the greatest  potential for transformation in all areas of   productive activity. Indeed we can already see  many of its applications in our daily lives.   It helps us book flights, order a taxi, look  for directions on our phones. It notifies us   if something strange is happening in  our bank accounts to prevent fraud.

Of course economic development has always been  driven by technology change and we can be certain   that more change is ahead as we've entered an  era of rapid technological advancement. But   this just isn't about the economy. It's also about  creating well-being and prosperity for our people.   The power of AI innovation can help us overcome  pressing social challenges and create new values   and possibilities. As technology historian Melvin  Kranzberg said "technology is neither good nor   bad, neither is it neutral". It is essential  that we have the right public policies in place   to ensure the responsible and beneficial  development and use of AI, maximizing its   potential for public good and minimizing any  potential negative impacts. The government  

therefore developed the national AI strategy  to provide a high level direction to the design   development deployment and governance of AI in  Ireland the title of the strategy AI here for good   reflects our ambition to harness AI as a positive  force for transformation the strategy serves as   a roadmap to how Ireland can leverage the  potential of AI for unlocking productivity,   for addressing societal challenges,  and for delivering public services   Our vision is that Ireland will be an  international leader in using AI to the benefit   of our population to a people-centered ethical  approach to AI development, adoption and use Abraham Lincoln once said that the most reliable  way to predict the future is to create it   Our national AI strategy is about creating the  future we want and underpinning that strategy   are three core principles to best embrace  the opportunities of AI. One: adopting a   human-centric approach in the application of AI.  Two: staying open and adaptable to new innovations   and three: ensuring good governance to build  trust and confidence so innovation can flourish   This is because ultimately if AI is truly  to be inclusive and have a positive impact   on all of us we need to be clear on its role  in our society and ensuring that trust is the   ultimate marker of success. With these guiding  principles it is our ambition to put Ireland   at the frontier of a people-centered  ethical and responsible roll out of AI.   This will further enhance Ireland's reputation as a place where it pays to invest in innovation. The  

work of research centres such as ADAPT are clear  examples of this and along with collaboration with   industry and private and public sectors, we can  continue to forge ahead as a leading AI nation   In terms of a very brief overview of the  strategy it has been structured along   three broad categories building public trust,  leveraging AI for economic and societal benefit,   and enablers for AI. Under each of  these categories are eight strands   covering areas such as AI and society, education  and skills, supporting a strong ecosystem,   and promoting trustworthy AI I won't  go into detail in each specific strand   but as Minister of State in the Department  of Enterprise, Trade and Employment,   there is a strong enterprise focus reflecting also  the potential of AI to economic recovery. It is   estimated that the application of AI could double  economic growth by 2035 and I believe that we must   be ready to take advantage of the opportunities  of AI to drive resilience and economic recovery   as seen by the increased uptake of digital  solutions particularly in the last 20 months.   But any powerful set of technologies also provokes  important questions about its uses and impact   on the labor market. Certain job roles will be  disrupted, not only by AI, but by broader digital   transformation much of this disruption will be in  the stream streamlining routine tasks such as in   accountancy by reviewing large swathes of data.  Or in the legal area, reviewing large volumes of

legal texts and contracts. It can augment and  enable the work we do freeing up time and creating   new job opportunities that require the skills and  willingness to work alongside AI based systems   That is why this strategy  prioritizes people-centered policies   That means giving workers the opportunities to  upskill, retrain and adapt to change. To boost   the uptake of digital technologies, including  AI, we have set up the digital transition fund   This is an 85 million euro multi-annual fund  that will run until 2026 as part of Ireland's   national recovery and resilience plan. While  government will play a key role in facilitating   and enabling AI for good, it is imperative  that this is a journey involving all of society   Government will continue to engage with  stakeholders to ensure policies are responsive   to the change in technology environment, but  there is a role for everyone to understand   the potential and the challenges AI and other  disruptive technologies present Events such as   the one here this evening are an important  fora to discuss how we can get a balance   between how disruptive technologies can enable  our future societies to embrace the opportunities   and at the same time overcome the challenges.  Because the benefits of AI are far-reaching   AI can help Ireland to address challenges in  areas such as climate action, public health,   education, housing, and urban development amongst  many others. The strategy is an important step   in Ireland's journey towards becoming a  leading international hub for responsible   and ethical AI, but it is only the beginning.  Having events like this evenings are important  

to address some of the concerns that people  may have around AI and other technologies   The more that people understand and trust the  potential of AI, the more people will embrace it   The government recognises the need to have  meaningful engagement with the public on the   development governance and use of AI. AI must  be developed and used with trust, transparency,   and accountability. By making human rights and  ethical principles a key focus of our strategy,   Ireland is making a commitment  to ensuring that AI-based systems   and solutions developed and used in this  state are trustworthy, fair and inclusive.  

The government will soon appoint an AI ambassador  to promote awareness among the people, both public   and businesses, of the potential AI offers,  serving as a champion of AI, as a positive force   for the economy and society and emphasizing an  ethical approach. And it's not too late to apply   We're seeking expressions of interest with the  closing date tomorrow so if there's anyone in this   room or indeed if anyone tuned in virtually would  like to become the next national AI ambassador   go home, log on to my website tonight, that's the  department's website and submit your application   for consideration before tomorrow evening. Also to  inform the work of the ai ambassador my department   will shortly begin a discussion with young people  on young people's attitudes and concerns about and   divisions for an AI-powered future using Comhairle  na nÓg, the national structure for consultation   with young people. I think it's very important  that their views are heard also. So to conclude,   we're all aware of the potential  technologies such as AI present,   but we all have a role to play in its deployment  and it's use to better society. I want to wish   you very well in your discussions this evening to  thank you again to the ATIM cluster for organizing   the event and for the invitation to share with  you a brief overview of the national strategy   and to apologize that I cannot stay long at the  event due to a prior commitment but i do wish   you well and I look forward to engaging  with you in the weeks and months ahead.   So now I suppose you know Minister Troy touched  upon it there about AI. He mentioned words like  

science fiction, yet the case study we're going to  look at this evening is really back to an everyday   very simple use, so maybe bridging the gap from  AI down to the everyday use. Can you just even   give an overview what is Artificial Intelligence?  Thanks very much I'm delighted to be here to talk   to you all this evening. AI is a term that has  a number of different meanings and it's a highly   interdisciplinary field of computer science  research now and essentially what we're trying   to do with AI algorithms is simulate intelligent  human processes. These are things like creativity,   things like logic, things like reasoning you know  all the things that we do as humans as part of our   everyday tasks. We're trying to build systems that  represent this and you know people associate AI a   lot with robotics and automation, but it's in so  many of our systems nowadays. It's on our phones,   it's on our Netflix accounts and the  recommendations that's made for this.  

Siri, Alexa all these systems are underpinned  by AI technology. So it's essentially it's there   already and maybe are people somewhat unaware of  what it's actually doing at present and how much   of a role it's playing in our everyday lives?  I would imagine they're completely unaware   and when it's done well, this is the way it  should. The proactive agency of the algorithms,   we should be unaware, but we shouldn't not  be in control right. So it's ubiquitous   It's in our cars and this will only emerge  further and further in in the next couple   of years. As Minister Troy touched upon there  earlier, he mentions words like trust as well   in AI which obviously is hugely important. Tell  us a little bit more about ADAPT in terms of what  

it does and the AI research it undertakes. Yes,  so Laura introduced earlier on that ADAPT is a   virtual research centre funded by the Science  Foundation Ireland that comprises eight   universities across the whole country and it has  kind of defined three research strands and related   to, at the intersection of AI and media They're on  Digital Content Transformation, Digitally Enhanced   Engagement and Digital Content Governance. The first, Digital Content Transformation is around   analysis of content, generation of content, understanding of content all automatically   The second strand Digital Enhanced Engagement  is around how AI interacts with us as users,   how it can proactively empower us, how we can  augment our function and that's actually the   focus we have in Athlone. And the last which is  quite unique from a computer science perspective  

in a research centre, ADAPT has Digital Content  Governance. This is your ethics, your trust and   it's a really interdisciplinary group and one  of the kind of unique things about the ADAPT   centre is that each of those different strands are  interconnected. It is a human centered research   centre. The human-centred approach is underpinned  within the algorithmic which is the digital   content transformation, and also within how we  empower users. The human stakeholders is key  

The role that your team are playing in that  overall Artificial Intelligence ecosystem. If   you can you pinpoint it for particularly members  of the public who are here this evening, what role   are you playing in the overall scheme of things?  In Athlone, we we work on um at the intersection   of extended reality technologies and AI. Extended  reality is another word that we might not be so   familiar with right, but myself and Ronan are  here. This is a real world real world interaction   right, and we have a number of different  partners joining us here from Dublin, Cork. What   they're doing at the moment is they're consuming  digital content through whatever platform it is,   probably zoom or something like this. But they're  still consuming content in the real world.  

So we're at the real world, but we have some  digital content things like augmented reality.   This is if i was looking at this object  over here through my phone within the   the view of the camera, my view might be overlaid  with context-based information. That gives me   extra information on this particular object. This  is augmented reality. I'm still in the real world.   Virtual reality is the far end of the spectrum  where everything I consume is digital so I have no   visibility of what's going on in the real world.  I have the head mounted display on. I consume the   audio which is also digital so I have no awareness  of the real world. What we do in Athlone is, in   the context of those kind of applications, capture  lots of data on users as they're consuming content   to understand their user perceptual quality.  What factors make this experience enjoyable?  

Some people are joining tonight on their phones,  some have very advanced screens like we have here.   They're all different types of factors that affect  how we rate quality of that experience and that's   where we operate, at the nexus of data collection  in extended reality. When you mention things like   data collection then, it's probably a thing that  people are becoming more and more aware of. You   said data collection there in relation to users  Again, there's a question out there about how much   do people realize how much information are they  giving away, or what's the trade-off for using   the various apps, or the technologies that we use,  but do you think that that conflict that's there   between privacy and ease of use will change over  time? Will people become more knowledgeable about   data and the use of same? When we're talking  about data and when we're consuming content   you know if you can imagine I'm wearing a head  mounted display here, the kinds of data you can   capture on the user are, if you think about it  it's actually like a sensor on your on your head   We all think about these devices as  presentation devices but if you flip it,   it actually is a sensor so you can capture eye  information, head movement, regions of interest,   interaction metrics like we see on the different  demos here, so there's lots of different   multi-modal data we can capture right. Even on  our phones there's huge amount of information  

we're giving to the different apps that  allow us to personalize these experiences.   Now what's happened over a number of years  Ronan is that we've been doing this without   even thinking about it. This is the reality.  I do it myself Generations have grown up doing   this without being aware of it, and in more recent  years there's been kind of a growing importance on   well we need to be in control of this more  and this is kind of one of the key remits   of the ADAPT centre that we get control  back and we control the amount of data   As a result then we get better trust and better  privacy. Very briefly Niall, given your research  

to date what areas of AI do you see as potentially  having the most impact in our in our future lives?  Well, that's a really broad question and what  I'll do is I'll just speak about from our point   of view, in our group. Our motivation is that  we develop systems that are truly personalized   systems so this means that we sense the  minimum amount of data to understand the user,  with AI, and then we use AI to select the assets  or the content to present to the user so that   truly personalized experiences are realized and  if you can think about the applications or the   benefits of this if I'm a student, the learning  experience is truly personalized to me so if I   have a difficulty in mathematics or sciences or  whatever, we can tailor the rate of difficulty   as it is as it's developed. Similarly in health  you can tailor the programs, not with human input,   but based on the data so this is where I think  from our point of view that's our kind of holy   grail of research and our strategy in the  next few years. We're going to switch over,  

or go very shortly to our hub hosts as well to  really you know to get you all working to get you   to do what you're here for this evening. Briefly  Niall, how important is it to have members of   the public and the citizens here to engage in  this this evening? It's absolutely essential. We talked about ADAPT as a human-centered  research group and it is because it is constantly   soliciting input from the key stakeholders.  If you think about the different contexts   it's the public who are the experts in  the different contexts whether that's in   manufacturing or whether it's health or whether  it's you know legal or whether it's fintech.   We're computer scientists. We're not experts in  those domains. They bring the expertise and then   the general public who are not industry specific, they're the key stakeholders who tell us what they   are prepared to accept from these kind of  technologies and I think that's essential   It's absolutely essential. I think that's going  to fit nicely into the case study that the groups  

are going to look at. So without further ado,  it's time to get down to some work and we're   going to now pass you over to your relevant hub  hosts they will take you through the objectives   for this evening and they will all join back again  around 7.20 and I'm looking forward to hearing the   feedback and see what comes out of each discussion  hub so we'll talk to you all then. Thank you.

2022-01-18 12:30

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