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article imageInvestigating the relationship between AI and humanity

By Tim Sandle     Sep 21, 2018 in Technology
Toronto - LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman has made a large donation to university. The funding creates a new academic post to investigate the relationship between artificial intelligence and humanity.
In recent years there has been much discussion about the impact of artificial intelligence upon society. Is it a force for good or will it undermine the social fabric and challenge the core of what makes us human? Proponents of artificial intelligence contend that AI can aid society in performing functions that human intelligence cannot undertake as well, such as advanced problem solving as well as offering superior reasoning, planning, and perception.
There are, however, negatives around artificial intelligence. These range from computers controlling human activity to concerns about replacing humans in performing several jobs, eventually rendering people jobless. Occupying the middle ground is philosopher Alix Rubsaam, who assesses that whatever he outcome, artificial intelligence will change our society in a long-lasting and profound way.
In 2016, the journal Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence ("Future Progress in Artificial Intelligence: A Survey of Expert Opinion") undertook a poll of commuter scientists to assess the debate between AI being a force for good or as an existential threat to humanity. The outcome was a chance of about one in three that the continued development of AI turns out to be ‘bad’ or ‘extremely bad’ for humanity.
It is these issues that have sparked LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffma to fund a new chair, to the tune of $2.45 million, at the University of Toronto's iSchool, which will set out to explore this relationship between artificial intelligence and society. The new post, the Reid Hoffman Chair in Artificial Intelligence and the Human begins in autumn 2018, according to website Boundless, will focus on cognitive science and philosophy, and what artificial intelligence will mean for humanity.
This will open the debate as to what artificial intelligence can do in terms of transforming the world. While most experts agree that transformation is happening, they do not agree on what kind of effect that transformation will have on the average person. As Hoffman states: "Artificial intelligence will revolutionize how we live, creating both incredible opportunity for benefits, as well as some disruption that will be important to manage. The future is always sooner and stranger than you think, and so while it’s difficult to predict exactly where this technology will take us, it is hugely important to focus some of our best minds on the implications of living with AI
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