REDMOND, Washington – Technology giant Microsoft is not only leading research in the field of artificial intelligence, an invisible revolution capable of transforming society and everyone in it, but has a prominent role in making sure it is not used for evil purposes.
From humanity’s great problems like food scarcity and epidemics to the mishaps and what is missing in the life of an individual, all can be more surely solved by joining human intelligence with machine learning.
The possibilities opened by AI are immense, but also looming large are concerns at an ethical level.
At the end of October, a society founded a year and a half ago will meet for the first time to keep watch on AI to make sure it is being used to benefit individuals and society and not to do them harm.
Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft Research, among other responsibilities, is president of that independent group, which also includes scientists and technicians from Amazon, Facebook, Google, Deep Mind, Apple and other tech companies, as well as representatives of civil rights organizations and specialists in various fields.
Horvitz said he is more “enthusiastic” about the potential of AI to improve society than he is “worried” about its evil usage or, as some suggest, a world dominated by rebellious machines that rise up against humanity.
According to a definition of the 1950s, AI consists of machines solving problems formerly reserved for humans.
That has already happened and Microsoft has plenty of examples to prove it – but also realizes there is still a long way to go.
The progress made by the company founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, and since 2014 headed by Satya Nadella, in the fields of voice and face recognition, visual precision, real-time language translation and holograms, have introduced AI into vast new territories.
Cortana, the intelligent personal assistant launched by Microsoft in 2014, now has 145 million users and has handled 18 billion tasks, from ordering pizza to telling jokes to reorganizing an agenda to noting down appointments.
Kate Kelly, senior content developer at Microsoft and also a busy mom who never has enough time, said it would be almost impossible for her to live without Cortana, available in 13 countries including Spain, Mexico and Brazil.
When EFE asked Horvitz if the collaboration between man and a thinking machine would change the human intellect, he replied: “Undoubtedly.”