The Talk About Artificial Intelligence 

By Tina Kalenits

Jambar Contributor

The Northeast Ohio Association for Computing Machinery hosted four established panel members at the Youngstown Historical Center to discuss how artificial intelligence will impact the future of work and education. 

On Sept. 21, four members, including two main speakers, David Staley and Sundar Vedantham, and two other panel members, Cheryl Rice and Milind Paranjape, discussed the future of AI.

AI is a computer capable of receiving data and programs and giving instantaneous results.

David Staley, futurist and director of the Humanities Institute at The Ohio State University, said there are three distinct scenarios when it comes to future relationships between AI and humans.

Staley said “Our Last Invention” would be the first possibility and least probable scenario.

This scenario explains that AI could one day evolve to become just as intelligent and even more intelligent than human beings.

Staley said “Autonomous Capitalism” would be a second possibility.

This scenario means AI technology would replace labor. 

Staley said the final, most probable possibility is a future in which AI and humans unite and work alongside one another. 

This scenario is called “Better Together.” 

AI and humans are already interacting today. For example, traffic lights tell us when to go, and we obey those laws, Staley said.

According to Staley, this is not human intelligence but is intelligence nonetheless, and it is an intelligence that is autonomous from us.

“I can see a future where the AI is something like a wild animal,” he said. “It won’t exactly do what we tell it to do, and it will have an intelligence that is autonomous to our commands.”

Autonomous intelligence is a concern for the future of AI.

“That AI will develop its own desires, its own way of thinking, and we’ll lose control over it. And that’s what I mean by autonomy, in this case. I think this is a very likely scenario,” Staley said.

Sundar Vedantham, director of software development for Intel’s Data Center Group, explained how society would be affected economically by such advanced technology.

Vedantham said when it comes to AI and working with this technology in workplaces, it is essential to know how that will affect society.

“The answers on what we need to do to get things right is not going to be one magic bullet or one solution,” Vedantham said. “It has to come from multiple directions. From the societal perspective, how we guide the innovation, what we focus our attention on and, as jobs shift, where do we go first, where do we retrain.”

“It’s going to be a complicated solution,” he added.

Cheryl Rice, the associate vice chancellor of the Higher Education Workforce Alignment at the Ohio Department of Education, said workforce and education need to be aligned with AI.

“What are the regional needs of the workforce and what are the technology skill sets that they’re looking for? And how do we integrate that into our colleges and universities to make sure the education is aligned, the curriculum is aligned, to make sure we’re meeting those needs?” Rice said.