Tech UPTechnologyArtificial intelligence, naturally

Artificial intelligence, naturally

The new collection of the National Observatory of Telecommunications and the Information Society (ONTSI), dependent on Red.es, has the objective of disseminating, disseminating and explaining ICT in society. Artificial Intelligence, naturally, is a manual that Nuria Oliver, Director of Data Science Research at Vodafone and Chief Data Scientist at Data-Pop Alliance, calls the coexistence between humans and machines so that technology benefits everyone.

The book is based on the speech delivered by Oliver on his admission to the Royal Academy of Engineering, and focuses on artificial intelligence (AI), making a brief journey through its history, describing its current impact and posing the challenges it has presented since different perspectives. It is written in the first person, in order to lead readers by the hand in approaching a complex issue that increasingly affects everyone’s lives.

Nuria begins the manuscript, in its introduction, noting that “we live in a technological world. Our work, entertainment, health, transportation, education, economy and communication depend on and are enriched by technology. However, we are very few – and even fewer women – who create technology and use it as a tool to solve problems ”.

And also how much that for more than 25 years he has researched how to model human behavior using artificial intelligence (AI) techniques. He has worked with rooms, clothes, cars and smart phones. It has invented systems capable of recognizing human behavior or characteristics, such as facial expressions, activities, interactions, driving maneuvers, sleep apnea, credit risk, crime hot spots in cities, or even boredom. He has built interactive and intelligent systems on computers and mobile phones. He has felt in first person the deep happiness that invades him when what was nothing more than an idea – sometimes even a bit crazy – becomes a reality that can help millions of people. And it has been art and part, witness and participant, of technological progress, of the increasingly relevant and ubiquitous presence of technology in our lives, and of the dependence that has developed towards it.

Inspiration and motor

“The inspiration and the driving force behind my work”, explains Nuria Oliver, “throughout my career have been questions with a clear social application. The person, in an individual and collective sense, has been and is the central element in all my projects: technology endowed with intelligence by and for society, technology capable of understanding each other as a preliminary step to helping us. However, the impact that that same technology is having now, already, in our lives is not always positive, and that is why I am concerned. I wonder if we are not facing a technological-based social crisis ”.

At the same time, and in this the author is clear, it does not make sense to aspire to stop technological development: exploring the unknown and pushing the state of the art is part of the essence of the human being. In addition, we need technology to survive as a species, overcoming challenges as immense as climate change, the sustainability of the planet, an aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases.

Science fiction?

Artificial intelligence is rapidly leaving the realm of science fiction. AI-enriched systems are part of our daily lives today, and will play a much more relevant role in the future. The potential for AI to profoundly transform society, in virtually every area, is immense. But we run the risk that a very high percentage of citizens will be left out of this transformation. Moreover, the metamorphosis will not necessarily be positive for society as a whole if we do not actively work to make it so, demanding that progress truly contribute to progress, equality, prosperity … To a better world for all , not just for a few.

For all these reasons, this first book in the collection ‘Thinking for the Digital Society’ is focused on artificial intelligence, making a brief journey through its history, describing its current impact and posing the challenges it presents from different perspectives. The last pages of it outline Nuria Oliver’s vision of the future. A vision that can only be hopeful: “I don’t know what the future will hold and where we will be in twenty years. But I can describe how I would like it to be ”.

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