The conference saw over 200 delegates gather to hear from some of the leading experts in the Czech Republic and the world. With AI set to have profound impacts across many industries and society, the conference aimed to answer how AI will impact technology, business, legislature, humanity, and more.
Transforming the business landscape
Juraj Rosa, CEO of GoodAI Applied, spoke about the importance of using artificial intelligence for businesses across different industries, especially in a future which will be lead by new technologies. He particularly focussed on AI as the next digital disruption, and on practical steps that companies can take if they want to adopt AI today, in order to make sure they are prepared for the future. You can read more about his thought here.
Understanding the brain
Jerald Kralik, Visiting Professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, spoke of the importance of metacognition and social cognition as key components of AI. He discussed his research which focuses on studying the human brain as a model for AI development. He stressed the importance of emotions as crucial for Human-AI relationship. AI may understand us better than we understand ourselves, at least for narrow goals, while it will not have a full model of the other. We need to model social intelligence.
He argued that:
“We need to learn more about the brain itself, and as we do it will help us learn more about AI.”
With this in mind, he takes a holistic approach incorporating anthropology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, sociology, and psychology, in order to build an overarching theoretical understanding of the brain.
His approach includes studying shelter building in hunter-gatherer societies and determining what cognitive abilities are needed to build a shelter. You can read more about that research here.
Consciousness and AI
Paul Bello, Cognitive Science Program Director at the USA Office of Naval Research, spoke about consciousness and the importance of responsibility when developing AI systems. As we expect more and more from AI in terms of services, it needs to be clear where the responsibility lies if something goes wrong. The AI we have today is merely “sleepwalking,” it does not show agency or intent. This is where consciousness comes in, an agent needs to be aware of what it is doing, as it is doing it, to be responsible for it.
He gave the example of a young man who looks after his uncle in his old age, with the expectation of receiving lots of money after he dies. However, the uncle meets and young woman and decided to give her all of his money instead. Enraged the young nephew grabs his gun, throws it in his car, and starts driving to his uncle’s house in order to kill him. On his way there he is thinking of what he will say and of how he will kill him, he is concentrating so much on this that he does not concentrate on the road and hits and kills a pedestrian. He gets out to check and realizes that he has killed his uncle.
There are two questions here, firstly is the man guilty of killing a pedestrian? The answer here is almost unequivocally, yes. However, is he guilty of murdering his uncle? It can be argued that he did not kill his uncle intentionally, because he did not do it in the way he intended. This intent and agency is vital in terms of determining responsibility. Bello argued that we should focus on building machines that can act with intent before we focus on building ethical machines. We also need to address the self-consciousness as it is key to agency/autonomy. There are important lessons to be learned from humans, including that we are generally intelligent, does not mean we are generally moral. You can read more about his work here.
Petr Očko, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, presented the recent released Czech National AI Strategy. He emphasized “the Government’s commitment to becoming one of Europe’s innovative leaders and a country of the technological future within twelve years.”
During a panel discussion, which was hosted by Marek Havrda, GoodAI’s AI Policy and Impacts Director, the question was asked: can the Czech Republic ever be at the same level as the top countries? Marek Havrda answered that it was possible, and there are examples of smaller nations (like Finland) excelling in the world of technology. He said “we have the potential, we have amazing scientists and researchers, but it needs sustained support from public actors. The National AI Strategy is a great initiative, and it will hopefully push forward AI on the agenda.” One of the goals of the strategy is to build a European Centre of Excellence in Prague and the prg.ai initiative which will launch today is a step towards this.
Also on the agenda
- Tomáš Vejlupek, president of TOVEK (organizers of the conference), outlined a visual map of who is dealing with artificial intelligence in the Czech Republic.
- Lubomír Hanusek of Home Credit International presented how AI technologies helped to process 5 million loans per month, each within 40 seconds.
- Jan Romportl, Chief Data Scientist, O2 Czech Republic, spoke about machine learning and the relationship between man and AI.
- Dalibor Kačmář, Senior Partner Lead, Microsoft Czech Republic and Slovakia spoke about accessible and affordable artificial intelligence for business and society and how Microsoft contributes to real solution development.
- Pavel Kysilka, Founder, 6D discussed in which fields AI as winning over human intelligence and where will it always be the other way around. He also explored which work, education, and business strategies are best in the digital era.
- Martin Kvapilík, Quality and IT Manager at TOSHULIN spoke on the topic of “How to avoid creating a beast,” which looked at the relationship between AI and human intelligence from the point of view of medieval philosophy.
- František Koukolík, Neuropathology specialist at Thomayer’s hospital in Prague, spoke about the problem of solving moral dilemmas.
- Radim Polčák, Institute of Law and Technology at Masaryk’s University, spoke on the legal aspects of AI and who holds responsibility for AI’s decisions and actions.
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