TECH TALK: BILL MAGEE says the new world of AI poses big challenges over trust and security
“Can Machines Think?” Computing Machinery and Intelligence/The Turing Test – Alan Turing
“You just can’t differentiate between a robot and the very best of humans” I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
An imminent report on artificial intelligence should get the digital antennae twitching for anyone integrating AI into their business, or thinking about it. It also represents a cautionary tale for any institution with nationwide plans to unlock such emerging technologies. The study is being released in the wake of the launch of Scotland’s new AI strategy centred on bringing significantly enhanced technological connectivity to the economy and engaging with great swathes of society for generations to come. It pulls no punches.
The Centre for Data Ethics & Innovation will warn of a “widespread distrust” of AI. Especially when it comes to the thorny issue of the collection and dispersal of personal/private data, and is launching a workshop programme to help organisations safely move towards often unchartered AI territory.
The CDEI research informs any strategy aiming to harness what is identified as highly disruptive, but hopefully transformational tech, even one as engaging as an AI plan that’s grounded in trustworthiness, ethics and inclusion involving the fabric of Scotland.
It puts the spotlight on how such well-meaning “best practice” AI initiatives promising responsible innovations are regularly stymied by governance challenges and security issues. The centre’s work was talked about at DataFest 21 Scotland, running in segments until the autumn.
The report will add that such failures undermine public trust when it comes to a growing apprehension over unsecured public WiFi and anxiety over a lack of improvement to levels of tracking interacting devices. In 2020 such “smart” devices in circulation totalled an estimated 200 billion and counting.
It’s evident that a lot of heavy lifting is ahead if Scotland is to gain real and long-lasting traction from its strategy and fulfils its AI promise. We’re talking robotisation on a massive scale in a rapidly-changing commercial and societal landscape.
It means tackling what amounts to a labyrinthine inventory of computer systems holding innumerable intellectual property sources, with commercially sensitive public and private trade secrets up for grabs by sophisticated hackers and scammers.
At stake are software supply chains involving hospitals, power grids, nuclear plants, universities, water supplies, “intelligent” lighting, waste management systems, social housing and sustainable communities. All with one thing in common. They’re heavy in data flow, and this includes the Scottish Parliamentary elections.
‘It’s evident that a lot of heavy lifting is ahead if Scotland is to gain real and long-lasting traction from its strategy and fulfils its AI promise’
Another danger is not implementing AI properly at the outset. Best to avoid “Get AI quick” schemes that are out there, offering the earth in terms of rapid installation whilst simultaneously cutting costs. Sound too good to be true?
I saw one claiming such a deal could be achieved without any outside expect tech help. Pity the poor in-house IT department – often a single individual – having to deal with this one.
It claimed to be part of a “benchmarking survey” and “confirmed” artificial intelligence reduces IT support and costs by 25%, enhancing efficiency and customer satisfaction, whilst “deep-coding AI-led autonomous optimisation platforms” act as a “major bullet” (that’s a first for me, major rather than silver) to counter an explosion in demand (in what?)
In reality, external expertise often proves crucial as a powerful back-up to get things spot on before the AI button is pressed, rather than discovering further down the trail that such planned integration has been a cyberdog’s dinner in its implementation.
Then there’s the lost jobs, with latest reports that thousands could be lost in the North Sea oil and gas industry to robotisation. Many previously manned call centres have already been replaced by chatbots. You know the ones.
The solution to your urgent query on how to get onto the internet is “firstly log onto the internet”. Another is – unless you frame your query in a specific way – that the computer says no, and you continue to search for ways to be patched through to someone, anyone, flesh and blood, to answer your call.
Hang on, here’s somebody and it’s good news: Scotland’s Artificial Intelligence Alliance is in good hands following the appointment as chair, of ex-IBM executive Gillian Docherty, whose day job is running Data Lab.
Avatar..app..algorithm…AI. The future’s here…