Artificial Intelligence Spooky for Some, Others See Opportunities to Solve Social Ills

Jake Neher/WDET

Rumman Chowdhury

Our economy is changing in the United States and across all developed nations — and a big driver of that change is technology.

The advent of robots that could mass produce goods in place of human laborers was one of the first waves of change that challenged our workforce.

Now, digital technologies such as artificial intelligence pose new and different threats. Those technologies aren’t just an existential crisis for middle class jobs, they also pose challenges for society as a whole.

But some researchers are looking at ways these technologies can be used to solve some of society’s ills.

One of those researchers is data scientist Rumman Chowdhury, the global lead for responsible AI at Accenture Applied Intelligence. She recently speaks with Detroit Today producer Jake Neher about the threats, promises, and opportunities this technology holds.

Artificial Intelligence is something people like to think about robots and something anthropomorphized and physical, and I think what people maybe find scary is that it’s not, it’s algorithms and code that live in a cloud that invisibly shape our lives,” says Chowdhury. “That’s actually, quite frankly, much scarier than a physical robot that you might battle.”

She says, despite fears surrounding the technology, it can also be used for good.

Really what we should be thinking about when we think about artificial intelligence is a technology that has an amazing potential to shape the world and shape our lives for good. But we need to be careful in how we build and design it so that it’s not perpetuating already-existing inequalities in our society,” says Chowdhury.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

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