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Experts Urge Governments to Take a Leading Role in AI and Robotics for the Benefit of Society

13 February 2018


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Dubai-UAE: 12 February, 2018 - The powerful potential of robotics in all aspects of life was under the spotlight in the sessions 'Can We Govern AI' and 'Why Governments Need to Invest in Robotics and AI' on day two of the sixth World Government Summit (WGS 2018) in Dubai. Moderated by His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, the 'father of self-driving cars' Sebastian Thrun attempted to answer the question: 'Can we Govern AI?'.

In the other session, moderated by Futurism CEO Alexander Klokus, the panel discussion highlighted the need for governments to set long-term goals in relation to artificial intelligence (AI). The high-level panel included Dr Anima Anandkumar, Principal Scientist at Amazon AI; Carol Reiley, President of Drive.ai – a developer of AI software for autonomous vehicles, and Dr Jürgen Schmidhuber, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist at NNAISENSE.

Examining the issue of control in session one, Dr Anandkumar said: “Governments must educate their citizens about what it is currently occurring in technology, and where it is heading. Policy makers must globalize and democratize artificial intelligence.”

Emphasizing the potential of harnessing AI for the good of mankind, she added: “We built human societies to limit creativity and to work, in a way, as machines. The use of artificial intelligence in the job market will allow humans to focus on their imagination.”

Stressing that governments had a responsibility in the area, Dr Schmidhuber said: “It is clear that governments have a role to educate their citizens to become informed decision makers. No policy maker or scientist has the answer, but education is key. Governments will have to invest in the merger of robotics and economy.”

For her part, Reiley felt that governments should act as enablers of tech and encourage society to embrace it. She added: “Governments need to create a framework for people to develop and benefit from innovation. Countries need to move quickly and invest both time and money in innovators.”

In the AI governance session, Thrun, who launched Google X, now simply known as X, and co-founded online education platform Udacity, suggested that education is the best way for governments to deal with AI. He said: “We live in a dynamic society where we are constantly on the move. We need to remind the people that the world will be different, but we can play a role in creating a more positive society.”

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the World Government Summit 2018 runs from February 11 to 13 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The landmark event convenes more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 16 international organizations.

Hosting more than 130 speakers across 120 interactive sessions, WGS 2018 features six distinct forums that examine the challenges of vital sectors for the future with a view to finding the best resolutions for the greater global good. Furthermore, over 20 specialized global reports spanning key sectors and topics of the summit are being launched during the event.