Artificial i

Intelligence (AI) is a vague concept for a lot of people. Some find it fantastic what is possible with virtual reality goggles, self-driving cars, and robots. Others are terrified of it and fear a new kind of dictatorship from companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon.

The fact is that AI is going to profoundly change society. There is no stopping that. The question is how we will deal with it and how AI can be managed.

That is the subject of this week’s third online event of the Dutch InScience/Maastricht, which features documentaries, lectures, and interviews with Maastricht University staff members.

Hunting for Hedonia

The kick-off is tonight with the film Hunting for Hedonia and a guest appearance by Annelien Duits,, who works as a neuropsychologist at Maastricht University Hospital in the Netherlands.

Hunting for Hedonia is about Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), a revolutionary development in neuroscience that is used to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease and people suffering from depression and other mental disorders.

On Tuesday, a documentary will be shown about the famous British neurologist Oliver Sacks in which he talks about his life’s work a few months before his death in 2015. In the Netherlands, Oliver Sacks is also known for his contribution to the VPRO television series Een Schitterend Ongeluk (A Splendid Accident).

Also on Tuesday, a lecture is to be given by Marko Jelicic, forensic psychologist at Maastricht University and author of the book Hoe een CIA-agent hervond zijn geheugen en andere waargebeurde verhalen (How a CIA agent recovered his memory and other true stories).

AI discriminates

It concludes on Wednesday with the documentary Coded Bias featuring Joy Buolamwini in the leading role, a researcher from MIT Media Lab who finds out that her (dark) face is not recognized by the computer. Subsequently, an investigation is started into how AI discriminates between women and men and also between white people and those with a darker complexion. Her research shows that discrimination is deeply hidden in algorithms, which, in a certain sense, reflects history.

Coded Bias highlights what kind of misconceptions there are concerning AI and underlines the need for legislation.

AI is on its way

This is precisely the research area of Katleen Gabriels, who is attached to the Maastricht University as a philosopher and professor of computer ethics. One of her theses is that people tend to think in overly black-and-white terms about AI. Some think it’s fantastic, others find it dreadful. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. What is absolutely certain, however, is that AII will drastically change society and that there is still a lot of research and legislation to be done.

Read an earlier interview with Gabriels by Innovation Origins about her book Regels voor Robots (Rules for Robots).

Bekijk ook ons archief over KI.

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About the author

Author profile picture Maurits Kuypers graduated as a macroeconomist from the University of Amsterdam, specialising in international work. He has been active as a journalist since 1997, first for 10 years on the editorial staff of Het Financieele Dagblad in Amsterdam, then as a freelance correspondent in Berlin and Central Europe. When it comes to technological innovations, he always has an eye for the financial feasibility of a project.