philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology



AI-TopArtGoogle is starting a new research push to understand and improve the relations between humans and AI. PAIR, for People + AI Research initiative, was announced today and will be led by two experts in data visualization, Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg. One thing they hope to do is create a toolkit of techniques and ideas about how to design AI systems less prone to disappointing or surprising us humans.

Viégas says that she’s interested in studying how people form expectations about what such systems can and can’t do—and how virtual assistants themselves might be designed to nudge us toward only asking things that won’t lead to disappointment.

The deep learning algorithms that have lately proved so useful for analyzing our personal data or diagnosing diseases from medical imaging also have a reputation for being what researchers dub “black boxes”, meaning it can be difficult to see why a system spat out a particular decision, such as a diagnosis.

That’s a problem as such software gets closer to being used in life-or-death situations in the clinic or on our roads inside autonomous vehicles.

Today the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, with backers including the Knight Foundation and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, announced $7.6 million in grants to civil society organizations to study the changes AI might cause in areas such as labor markets and criminal justice systems.

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