AI desperately needs human values
By Ana Palacio  |  Feb 15, 2023
AI desperately needs human values
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Humanity has a basic but worryingly incomplete understanding of AI’s abilities and faces the daunting hurdle of making it more ethical and human-centered, while mitigating its risks and nasty surprises. Social media, a potential force for good, but also infamous for sowing disinformation and undermining democracy and social cohesion, offers lessons, nonetheless.

MADRID – The year 2023 may be the one when artificial intelligence (AI) transforms daily life, said Brad Smith, president and vice chairman of Microsoft, at a Vatican-organized event on AI held last month. Smith’s statement was less a prediction than a call to action, however. The event attended by industry leaders and representatives of the three Abrahamic religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - sought to promote an ethical, human-centered approach to the development of AI.

That AI poses a daunting set of operational, ethical, and regulatory challenges is in no doubt, and addressing them will be far from straightforward. Though AI development dates back to the 1950s, the technology’s contours and likely impact remain hazy.

Of course, recent breakthroughs - from the almost chillingly human-like text produced by OpenAI’s ChatGPT to applications that may shave years off the drug-discovery process - shed light on some dimensions of AI’s immense potential. Nevertheless, to predict all the ways AI will reshape human lives and civilization remains impossible.

This uncertainty is nothing new. Even after recognizing a technology’s transformative potential, the shape of the transformation tends to surprise people. Social media was initially touted as an innovation that would strengthen democracy, but in fact it has done far more to destabilize it by facilitating t

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