At the time when he lived in 500 BC, [Confucius] was the epitome of good governance. He was the epitome of progressive ways towards a peaceful and just order. And he pioneered many things that we would regard today still as extremely important.
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Everybody thinks of bureaucrats as being kind of a neutral force. But I’m going to make the case that bureaucrats are in fact a very strongly negative force, and that automating the bureaucratic functions inside of our society is necessary for further human progress.
Increasingly we’re using automated technology in ways that kind of support humans in what they’re doing rather than just having algorithms work on their own, because they’re not smart enough to do that yet or deal with unexpected situations.
I teach my students that design is ongoing risky decision-making. And what I mean by ongoing is that you never really get to stop questioning the assumptions that you’re making and that are underlying what it is that you’re creating—those fundamental premises.
If you have a system that can worry about stuff that you don’t have to worry about anymore, you can turn your attention to other possibly more interesting or important issues.
In a world of conflicting values, it’s going to be difficult to develop values for AI that are not the lowest common denominator.
I think one of the things I want to say from the start is it’s not like AI is going to appear. It’s actually out there, in some instances in ways that we never even notice.
Machine learning systems that we have today have become so powerful and are being introduced into everything from self-driving cars, to predictive policing, to assisting judges, to producing your news feed on Facebook on what you ought to see. And they have a lot of societal impacts. But they’re very difficult to audit.
I think there are countless amazing opportunities for artificial intelligence and its impact on society. I think one of the areas I’m truly the most excited about is education.