We all have heard the buzz about artificial intelligence and we are aware of the promise it has for future computing and machine interactions. Well, while technology will continue to advance in leaps and bounds, we are more concerned about how they can add value to our life, right? What are the greatest social problems as of now? Well, poverty, lack of education, public health concern, pollution, depleting natural resources, human violence and a few more instantly comes to our mind.
Human intelligence is dealing with many of these challenges from time immemorial and a few modern concerns only piled over this. How can artificial intelligence (AI) play a positive role in dealing with these social challenges? Do you have a clue? Well, a recent drive of innovation from Microsoft unveiled a new possibility in this regard.
An AI App To Compensate Visual Impairment
Saqib Shaikh, an engineer at Microsoft, recently came up with a technology that can deliver alternative recognition capability for the visually impaired people. Saqib Shaikh who himself lost his sight at an early age came up with an innovative approach to compensate the visual impairment through advanced machine learning. How the new technology can actually work to offer an alternative to the visual recognition?
Saqib and a team of developers built apps capable of running on a wearable small computer of the size of sunglasses. The new app can interpret the visual world audibly in real time. This allows the visually impaired user to experience the world around in richer ways. For instance, while being unable to read a menu card at a restaurant the computer whispers the list of foods in his ear. The surprise does not end here. Even without being able to see, someone can spot his friend or the loved one in a crowded park or a marketplace.
Such awe-inspiring possibilities make me recall a French movie (Amelie) where the benevolent young girl guides an old blind beggar through the streets and describes every little object on the way to compensate the incapability for seeing the surrounding. The tiny wearable computer and the app developed by Saqib and his colleagues ensure a richer audible service.
What Social Commitment We Should Expect From AI?
Don’t you think that the accumulative possibility of human intelligence and artificial intelligence can be huge to take on the major social challenges? But, to play a social role like this AI must follow some important principles like the following.
- I. must play assisting role to human assistance and obey human conscience.
- The role of A.I. should be transparent and intelligible to allow knowing how it works.
- I. should be deployed to optimize efficiency but not at the cost of human dignity and our emotional attributes.
- I. should be designed to safeguard privacy and protection to personal information.
- I. should be controllable with a sophisticated algorithm to prevent unintended and unaccountable results.
The whole value proposition of A.I. and its social role is basically based on the ease of deployment, automation and innovative interaction that were previously unthinkable for a machine. But human intelligence will still be crucial to guide AI enabled devices, apps, and interfaces with the notion of empathy, responsibility, cultivated values and accountability for the society at large.