Artificial intelligence comes with high risks, lost jobs, and concerns. Whenever there was a discussion about AI during the Almedalen Week in Visby, Sweden, almost without exception, the focus was negative. AI is a technology with the potential of saving millions of lives and improving the quality of life for many more, but it got out of the focus.
More than 3,500 items were on the program for the Almedalen Week in 2019. The third most popular one was digitalisation and artificial intelligence, AI. Interest was very high, and many sessions about AI fully booked.
However, what was on the agenda was primarily concerns about AI. Panels and speakers would plunge directly into ethics, morals, and problematizing. What will happen when the AI takes all our jobs? And when technology becomes much smarter than us, will it regard us with the same disregard that we have of an anthill getting in the way of highway construction? Speakers were horrified and saw dangers around every corner, and they believed that the technology the development of the technology should be at a snail’s pace and extreme levels of precaution. That is if we should develop the technology at all. Some advocated a complete stop.
AI is extremely powerful, and there are good reasons to keep an eye on the risks, but the potential is incredibly much more significant. What happened in just about every forum in Almedalen where AI came up was that there was an immediate halt. After the talk of problems and concerns, there was no time left to discuss what the technology is making possible.
Every day, 3,287 persons worldwide are killed in traffic. That amounts to almost 1.25 million persons per year. On top of that, between 20 million and 50 million persons suffer injuries or become disabled. The human factor causes the vast majority of all accidents. Self-driving cars with artificial intelligence can potentially save millions of lives. If we are serious of the vision of zero of traffic accidents, the rapid development of this technology is crucial.
In 2018, the estimation is that 9.6 million persons died in complications from some form of cancer. Early and correct diagnosis is critical for your chance of survival; this is precisely something that AI is ideally suited.
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the world. In 2018, the estimation is that 9.6 million persons died in complications from some form of cancer. Early and correct diagnosis is critical for your chance of survival; this is precisely something that AI is ideally suited. Even today, in healthcare, uses AI for the diagnosis. For example, for the analysis of X-rays, but reducing costs for screening for common forms of cancer makes it available for everyone. That will savea millions of lives.
As people are getting older and older, the risk for brain diseases increases. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, ADI, every third second, a person is given a diagnosis. That amounts to a total of 46.8 million persons worldwide, and over the last twenty years, the number of affected persons has doubled. Here, too, artificial intelligence and the rapid development of technology have a crucial role to play. Researchers at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases are using technology from Hewlett Packard Enterprise to gain new insights into the nature of Alzheimer’s disease. Early diagnosis is critical, but the technology has also helped researchers to gain a closer understanding than ever before of the causes of the disease. Once again, it is a matter of saving millions of lives and making a much better life possible for many more because of technology.
These are only three instances of Artificial Intelligence’s capacity to save and improve lives. Optimisation of energy consumption, logistics, transports, and individualised education were just a few of the suggestions coming from participants in the HPE seminars during the Almedalen Week. The possibilities are, literally, endless, and for one hour, this activity focussed on nothing but them.
In the long perspective, especially, AI comes with risks, and this is not about being naïve and disregarding them.
In the long perspective, especially, AI comes with risks, and this is not about being naïve and disregarding them. Instead, it’s primarily about considering and taking advantage of the possibilities created by technology; then, we will concern ourselves handling the risks and obstacles. That is how we launch a more rewarding discussion about AI from now on. That is how we save millions of lives and create a better life for all of us with artificial intelligence.
Region Gotland – Statistics from the Almedalen Week 2019: http://dokument.gotland.se/IntegrationService.svc/GetDocumentContent?documentNumber=12811
WHO – Number of road traffic deaths: https://www.who.int/gho/road_safety/mortality/traffic_deaths_number/en/
WHO – Cancer: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer
Alzheimer Sweden – Spread and statistics about memory diseases: https://www.alzheimersverige.se/fakta-forskning/utbredning-och-statistik/