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‘AI will help us focus on creative things’

The most important way to deal with any innovation is to give every person a seat on the table, says Thrun

Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
Sebastian Thrun in conversation with Omar Sultan AL Olama (left) during a session on the impact of artificial intelligence.
Gulf News

Dubai: Technology is unstoppable but at the same time governments need to responsibly look into how to bring it to benefit all people, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) expert has said.

Sebastian Thrun, Chief Executive Officer, Udacity, who’s known as the ‘father of self-driving cars’, told Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE’s Minister of State for AI during a session called “Can We Govern AI” that to govern something that continues to advance requires educating people.

“The most important way to deal with any innovation is to give every person a seat on the table and the best way is through education,” he said. “Every technology bears risk and abuse of malfunction and there needs to be framework put in place to minimise risks for people.”

During the session, Thrun told the minister that AI will help societies become free of repetitive work, allowing them to focus on creative things and do work that requires creativity.

“I think history has proven all over again that technology makes world a better place. We live in a world where education is free to access, poverty is on decline … With AI, we can use it to make diagnostics pervasive and able to detect diseases quicker.”

When Al Olama asked Thrun if AI would be transforming the education system: he said: “We are in a modern era of technology with many things we don’t have to learn anymore, like learning spelling. Everything is a given, but the next thing is to use AI to tailor education to the right person. In the past, kids went into the classroom and learnt the same thing the same time, but in future education can be tailored for every single person and it will make it more fun.”

Thrun pointed out that good development of new technologies requires open-mindedness of leadership, noting that this was something he witnessed in Dubai. “Also educating people to understand these tools, and entrepreneurship.”

He concluded: “I would start using AI by looking at problems inside the government and industry and what could be the concrete solutions we can adopt today. We can only understand AI when we use it in today’s products, not by speaking about it.”

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