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Socializing AI

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In our digital age, AI (artificial intelligence) applications outperform human-beings in various tasks. Being the real natives of the infosphere, artificial agents make us human-beings (aka analog creatures) to get used to this new environment consisting of both analog and digital signals ranging from IoT (Internet of Things) solutions to AI programs and cloud computing software. Being not only autonomous and social, but also smart, these digital technologies seem to give way to various unpredictable artificial agents in the near future. Current solutions in the form of application, chatbots, algorithms of all kinds and robots already started to disrupt major industries such as manufacturing and finance. By categorizing images or interpreting huge date sets via means of machine learning, these digital agents we share the current infosphere with, already started to act as experts in their related fields.

Moreover, it is not only the manufacturing and finance sector which are dominated by digital technologies, but also the services sector such as healthcare. Although we may not predict the pace of the disruption occurring due to the proliferation of these technologies into our daily lives, it will be no surprise if the scale of the forthcoming disruption will be profound due to the fact that seem jobs are already being replaced by AI. Those jobs in which individuals function as an interface will be subject to risk due to the requirements for new interfaces between smart solutions. To give a specific example, new jobs may emerge in healthcare as there may be a need to ensure that correct data combination occurs between the data collected by insulin pumps and related smart apps in order to improve the healthcare technologies of the future.

Furthermore, cost-effectiveness may not be a crucial criteria when it comes to tasks regarding the use of smart applications. While in some hospitals the medical staff may be irreplaceable, in others, semi-autonomous robots may be coordinated through smart tables. On the other hand, despite the fact that machines undertake most of the work, some jobs may still survive. According to a report by the World Bank, by 2030 the world will need twice as much health-care workers as in 2013.

Another source of uncertainty concerns the point at which smart technologies will no longer be controlled by a guild of technicians and managers. What may be the result of such a  “democratized” infosphere which can be accessed by millions of individuals through means of their smartphones or some other device? As Ekman & Bonfiglioli wrote, it is important to consider the scale concerning the adoption of systems of intelligence to which they are made accessible in more intuitive ways. By envisioning AI as “conversations”,  user experiences may be empowered in a way which reflect the way individuals collaborate and interact with one another, and the way machines proactively understand the user intent. Such systems of intelligence will not only transform the way innovation is undertaken for optimized outcomes, but also the way operational processes are improved. So, as Ekman & Bonfiglioli suggested, it would be revolutionary if individuals across an industry- specific continuum could collaborate and use machine learning to come up with ways to improve outcomes for others.

As not all technology solutions are preferred to the same extent and may indeed be privileged given their relative advantage over others, we need to find out how to adopt AI technologies from an ethical perspective. Contrary to popular opinions, dystopian scenarios such as the emergence of a “Brave New World” or ‘Terminator’ are not on the horizon. Yet, this should not defer us from taking into account the risks, opportunities and challenges with regard to the proliferation of these technologies into our daily lives and our way of socializing them. Unless we tackle these challenges now, social costs may be maximized while social benefits may be minimized. If we want to do justice for current and future generations, we should do away with science fiction scenarios and do a reality check.

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Ayse Kok
Ayse completed her masters and doctorate degrees at both University of Oxford (UK) and University of Cambridge (UK). She participated in various projects in partnership with international organizations such as UN, NATO, and the EU. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at Bogazici University in her home town Turkey. Furthermore, she is the editor of several international journals, including IEEE Internet of Things Journal, Journal of Network & Computer Applications (Elsevier), Journal of Information Hiding and Multimedia Signal Processing...etc. She has also played the role of the guest editor of several international journals of IEEE, Springer, Wiley and Elsevier Science. She attended various international conferences as a speaker and published over 100 articles in both peer-reviewed journals and academic books. Moreover, she is one of the organizing chairs of several international conferences and member of technical committees of several international conferences. In addition, she is an active reviewer of many international journals as well as research foundations of Switzerland, USA, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom. Having published 3 books in the field of technology & policy, Ayse is a member of the IEEE Communications Society, member of the IEEE Technical Committee on Security & Privacy, member of the IEEE IoT Community and member of the IEEE Cybersecurity Community. She also acts as a policy analyst for Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research. Currently, she lives with her family in Silicon Valley and works for Google in Mountain View.

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