Each week on a Wednesday Nikolas Badminton, Futurist highlights the top stories from the past week relating to the incredible rise of artificial intelligence and its application in society, the workplace, in cities, and in our lives.
In Artificial Intelligence Bulletin – AI, Automation, and the US Economy we see the latest report from the U.S. government on Ai, automation and the economy, making fake images and videos, Zuck’s learnings, and spintronics.
Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy
Today, in order to ready the United States for a future in which artificial intelligence (AI) plays a growing role, the White House released a report on Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy. This report follows up on the Administration’s previous report, Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence, which was released in October 2016, and which recommended that the White House publish a report on the economic impacts of artificial intelligence by the end of 2016.
Accelerating AI capabilities will enable automation of some tasks that have long required human labor. These transformations will open up new opportunities for individuals, the economy, and society, but they will also disrupt the current livelihoods of millions of Americans. The new report examines the expected impact of AI-driven automation on the economy, and describes broad strategies that could increase the benefits of AI and mitigate its costs.
AI-driven automation will transform the economy over the coming years and decades. The challenge for policymakers will be to update, strengthen, and adapt policies to respond to the economic effects of AI.
Although it is difficult to predict these economic effects precisely, the report suggests that policymakers should prepare for five primary economic effects:
- Positive contributions to aggregate productivity growth;
- Changes in the skills demanded by the job market, including greater demand for higher-level technical skills;
- Uneven distribution of impact, across sectors, wage levels, education levels, job types, and locations;
- Churning of the job market as some jobs disappear while others are created; and
- The loss of jobs for some workers in the short-run, and possibly longer depending on policy responses.
There is substantial uncertainty about how strongly these effects will be felt and how rapidly they will arrive. It is possible that AI will not have large, new effects on the economy, such that the coming years are subject to the same basic workforce trends seen in recent decades—some of which are positive, and others which are worrisome and may require policy changes. At the other end of the range of possibilities, the economy might experience a larger shock, with accelerating changes in the job market, and significantly more workers in need of assistance and retraining as their skills no longer match the demands of the job market. Given available evidence, it is not possible to make specific predictions, so policymakers must be prepared for a range of potential outcomes. At a minimum, some occupations such as drivers and cashiers are likely to face displacement from or a restructuring of their current jobs.
Because the effects of AI-driven automation will be felt across the whole economy, and the areas of greatest impact may be difficult to predict, policy responses must be targeted to the whole economy. In addition, the economic effects of AI-driven automation may be difficult to separate from those of other factors such as other forms of technological change, globalization, reduction in market competition and worker bargaining power, and the effects of past public policy choices. Even if it is not possible to determine how much of the current transformation of the economy is caused by each of these factors, the policy challenges raised by the disruptions remain, and require a broad policy response.
In the cases where it is possible to direct mitigations to particularly affected places and sectors, those approaches should be pursued. But more generally, the report suggests three broad strategies for addressing the impacts of AI-driven automation across the whole U.S. economy:
- Invest in and develop AI for its many benefits;
- Educate and train Americans for jobs of the future; and
- Aid workers in the transition and empower workers to ensure broadly shared growth.
The report details what can be done to execute on these strategies. Continued engagement between government, industry, technical and policy experts, and the public should play an important role in moving the Nation toward policies that create broadly shared prosperity, unlock the creative potential of American companies and workers, advance diversity and inclusion of the technical community in AI, and ensure the Nation’s continued leadership in the creation and use of AI.
Beyond this report, more work remains, to further explore the policy implications of AI. Most notably, AI creates important opportunities in cyberdefense, and can improve systems to detect fraudulent transactions and messages.
Read more at WhiteHouse.gov
Artificial intelligence is going to make it easier than ever to fake images and video
Smile Vector is a Twitter bot that can make any celebrity smile. It scrapes the web for pictures of faces, and then it morphs their expressions using a deep-learning-powered neural network. Its results aren’t perfect, but they’re created completely automatically, and it’s just a small hint of what’s to come as artificial intelligence opens a new world of image, audio, and video fakery. Imagine a version of Photoshop that can edit an image as easily as you can edit a Word document — will we ever trust our own eyes again?
“I definitely think that this will be a quantum step forward,” Tom White, the creator of Smile Vector, tells The Verge. “Not only in our ability to manipulate images but really their prevalence in our society.” White says he created his bot in order to be “provocative,” and to show people what’s happening with AI in this space. “I don’t think many people outside the machine learning community knew this was even possible,” says White, a lecturer in creative coding at Victoria University School of design. “You can imagine an Instagram-like filter that just says ‘more smile’ or ‘less smile,’ and suddenly that’s in everyone’s pocket and everyone can use it.”
Smile Vector is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s hard to give a comprehensive overview of all the work being done on multimedia manipulation in AI right now, but here are a few examples: creating 3D face models from a single 2D image; changing the facial expressionsof a target on video in realtime using a human “puppet”; changing the light source and shadows in any picture; generating sound effects based on mute video; live-streaming the presidential debates but making Trump bald; “resurrecting” Joey from Friends using old clips; and so on. Individually, each of these examples is a curiosity; collectively, they add up to a whole lot more.
Read more at The Verge
3 Things Mark Zuckerberg Has Learned About Artificial Intelligence
What if your security camera could not only see who’s at your door, but also identify whether it’s a guest you’re expecting, alert you when they arrive, and let them in? Or how about a speaker system that automatically plays music as your child wakes up? That’s the type of functionality Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is trying to build into his virtual butler, Jarvis, which he’s been developing throughout the year as part of his New Year’s resolution.
With 2016 coming to a close, Zuckerberg published a lengthy blog post detailing the types of tasks Jarvis can accomplish. He also wrote about the biggest challenges that he faced when developing his artificial intelligence (AI) software, and where he believes AI is heading. One of his most significant takeaways was that, although AI is advancing quickly, it still requires a decent amount of human guidance.
“We know how to show a computer many examples of something so it can recognize it accurately, but we still do not know how to take an idea from one domain and apply it to something completely different,” wrote Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg also wrote that it would be “interesting to find ways to make this available to the world,” but the current code is too tightly tied to his own home and personal information to open-source it. But he didn’t rule out the idea of eventually developing an AI assistant for the public. “That could be a great foundation to build a new product,” he wrote.
Read more at TIME
The world’s first demonstration of spintronics-based artificial intelligence
The Tohoku University research group of Professor Hideo Ohno, Professor Shigeo Sato, Professor Yoshihiko Horio, Associate Professor Shunsuke Fukami and Assistant Professor Hisanao Akima developed an artificial neural network in which their recently-developed spintronic devices, comprising micro-scale magnetic material, are employed (Fig. 1). The used spintronic device is capable of memorizing arbitral values between 0 and 1 in an analogue manner unlike the conventional magnetic devices, and thus perform the learning function, which is served by synapses in the brain.
Using the developed network (Fig. 2), the researchers examined an associative memory operation, which is not readily executed by conventional computers. Through the multiple trials, they confirmed that the spintronic devices have a learning ability with which the developed artificial neural network can successfully associate memorized patterns (Fig. 3) from their input noisy versions just like the human brain can.
The proof-of-concept demonstration in this research is expected to open new horizons in artificial intelligence technology – one which is of a compact size, and which simultaneously achieves fast-processing capabilities and ultralow-power consumption. These features should enable the artificial intelligence to be used in a broad range of societal applications such as image/voice recognition, wearable terminals, sensor networks and nursing-care robots.
Read more at EurekaAlert!
Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.