People are afraid to talk about AI

People are afraid to talk about AI

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Angela Kane (Vice President at the International Institute for Peace, Vienna; Former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs) has a unique perspective on AI and how it ties in with international politics.

Angela took DeepFest 2024 to share her experience and drive forward the conversation about how AI will intersect with equality, equity and peace. And we caught up with her for a quick exploration of her key issues in the current discourse around AI.

Here’s what she told us.

Firstly, as someone with such profound experience in politics and peace, we’d love to know: do you think it's possible for AI technology to have a mostly beneficial impact on humanity?

“Having worked on a multinational level for many years, I am aware of the global governance deficit concerning AI. Most of the benefits of AI are concentrated in a small number of countries and in a small number of private industries that wield tremendous influence.

“How can we ensure that AI technology benefits are broadened to give more access to technology as well as increase efficiency to more constituents? How can the disruption that is being caused by AI knock-on effects be managed? These issues need to be addressed.”

What are the key obstacles you see standing in the way of AI being able to support positive relationships between countries and communities around the world?

“The key obstacle is lack of trust within societies.

“How do we know if reported news is factual or misinformation? Can we be sure whether video clips or pictures on social media are real or synthetic media? How can we be certain that election outcomes are not manipulated by actors outside the country?

“As AI assists in everyday tasks and decision-making, how can we be sure that those decisions – on our health, our social benefits – are not biased by obscure algorithms?

“Between countries, the biggest concern is the imbalance of benefits. AI increases productivity and innovation across the globe, ensuring economic growth and efficiency. Yet many countries are left behind. Should there not be enablers which could help to ensure that benefits become more widely available and cover more of humanity than is now the case?”

Do you think that more needs to be done to encourage more diverse thinkers to engage in conversations about AI, and leadership in AI? And if so, what can those in the AI space do to welcome more viewpoints into the discourse?

“Right now the discussion about AI and its benefits – or drawbacks – takes place in highly-educated elite circles. Most people are afraid to enter into discussions for fear of showing lack of knowledge or awareness.

“What needs to happen is more information, more education to increase familiarity with the basic concepts, more willingness to delve more deeply into the AI world and its promises as well as its disruptive impact. Those in the AI space should engage with government officials on an equal level; not see governments as spoilers or regulators but as partners who are willing to promote larger and more inclusive AI objectives, as well as upholding standards and accountability.”

What are your biggest concerns about AI? Or to put it another way, what keeps you up at night?

“What keeps me awake is the super-rapid development of AI technology. Even ten years ago, AGI seemed a far distant, somewhat utopian goal. These days, we are talking about it more and more. How close are we? Can humans keep up with it? How is it shaping the future? And what actions should we be considering in response?

“These are challenges that are becoming more and more urgent.”

Finally, why are events like DeepFest valuable to you and your work?

Keeping up with information on AI is a never-ending quest. Important to know what is new in the field, what could be coming up, what research is being conducted and where, what opportunities have arisen and what risks they could entail. Events like DeepFest are opportunities to gain knowledge, to meet leaders in the field, to engage in discussions about AI, its future and its impact on various industries and on global governance.”

Discover the International Institute for Peace. Did you miss DeepFest 2024? Don’t worry – join us for the 2025 edition to play a role in shaping our global future with AI.


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