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Artificial Intelligence in Society

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The artificial intelligence (AI) landscape has evolved significantly from 1950 when Alan Turing first posed the question of whether machines can think. Today, AI is transforming societies and economies. It promises to generate productivity gains, improve well-being and help address global challenges, such as climate change, resource scarcity and health crises. Yet, as AI applications are adopted around the world, their use can raise questions and challenges related to human values, fairness, human determination, privacy, safety and accountability, among others. This report helps build a shared understanding of AI in the present and near-term by mapping the AI technical, economic, use case and policy landscape and identifying major public policy considerations. It is also intended to help co-ordination and consistency with discussions in other national and international fora.

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Executive summary

The artificial intelligence (AI) technical landscapehas evolvedsignificantly from 1950 when Alan Turing first posed the question of whether machines can think. Coined as a term in 1956, AI has evolved from symbolic AI where humans built logic-based systems, through the AI “winter” of the 1970s to the chess-playing computer Deep Blue in the 1990s. Since 2011, breakthroughs in “machine learning” (ML), an AI subset that uses a statistical approach, have been improving machines ability to make predictions from historical data. The maturity of a ML modelling technique called “neural networks”, along with large datasets and computing power, is behind the expansion in AI development.

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