Undersecretary of Science warns of “advances and dangers” of Artificial Intelligence at CMM seminar

Undersecretary of Science warns of “advances and dangers” of Artificial Intelligence at CMM seminar

The authority also announced that next October 23 and 24, in the framework of the “Foro sobre la ética de la inteligencia artificial América Latina y el Caribe” (“Forum on Ethics of Artificial Intelligence – Latin America and the Caribbean”), Chile will present an update to the Artificial Intelligence Policy of 2021.

The Undersecretary of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation, Carolina Gainza, participated in the international seminar “Inteligencia Artificial con Ética en el Centro: En la búsqueda de soluciones desde la multidisciplinariedad” (“Artificial Intelligence with Ethics at the Center: In Search of Solutions from Multidisciplinarity”), organized by the Association for Ethics in Data and Artificial Intelligence (AEDIA), the Data and Artificial Intelligence Initiative (IDIA), the Center for Mathematical Modeling (CMM) and Transversal Studies in Humanities for Engineering and Science (ETHICS) of the Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (FCFM) of the University of Chile.

“We can see many positive developments in the use of artificial intelligence and there are also dangers, for example, the use of biometric technologies, facial recognition systems and our private data. Therefore, in this context, the ethical approach is just one of the issues that are urgent to take into account and address,” the national authority stated.

“What kind of society do we want to build?”, Gainza asked the attendees, and then added: “We do not want technologies to reproduce inequalities or generate new inequalities in our societies. We want a responsible and transparent artificial intelligence, without discrimination, diverse and with a human rights perspective (…) our horizon are sustainable societies, where we seek to overcome gaps and inequalities, environmentally sustainable, also, where the most important point is the welfare of people”.

Along these lines, the dean of the FCFM of the Universidad de Chile, Francisco Martínez, pointed out that AI “opens a discussion so profound that it is contributing to a renewal of the structure of societal values, of those in which last century and at the beginning of the century, probably, we conceived as the essential values of our society, built by humanity over many centuries. Now new questions are opening up that are hard to answer in reference to what our knowledge, our social agreements, our vision of who we humans are, how we behave and how we relate to each other used to mean. That is how fascinating I find this topic: everything to do, everything to know, everything to reflect on”.

Felipe Tobar, coordinator of the CMM Data Science area and director of the Data and Artificial Intelligence Initiative (IDIA), explained that “it is important to understand that this is a very powerful tool, but you have to know how to use it to protect people’s safety (…) the use goes a little further than the regulation. So it is not that they are doing something wrong, ethically or morally safe is debatable, but what they are doing is not illegal because there is no regulation in this regard. It is very important to put these issues on the table so that decision makers understand that it is urgent and legislate on the matter”.

A wake-up call

The seminar featured a keynote talk by British Spaniard Amanda Cercas, a researcher at Bocconi University in Italy. “I want people to be more informed about how they work and what these systems are really doing, which is not really knowing anything or answering questions, it’s just imitating human language and that’s it,” she stated.

Cercas emphasized “how anthropomorphism, which is giving artificial intelligence human characteristics, affects our perception at the user level, of how intelligent these systems are, their capabilities and how in reality they deceive us, and they are neither as intelligent nor as capable. It’s just a mirage.”

“The problem here is that if we don’t really know how smart these systems are, we can rely too much. Then it’s a security problem. What I want to do is put out a call to artificial intelligence developers not to overuse anthropomorphization techniques. And also to propose a call to the public to be more informed about how these systems work and what their capabilities really are,” he concluded.

The event also included a multidisciplinary discussion panel composed of Gabriela Arriagada, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile; Ana María Castillo, professor at the Faculty of Communication and Image of the Universidad de Chile and co-director of the Artificial Intelligence and Society Nucleus (IA+SIC); and Claudia López, academic from the Department of Computer Science of the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María.

“I am a computer scientist and I work in what is called human-computer interaction and from there, since the beginning of the discipline more than 40 years ago, the “why” we make technology and how we involve people in the process of devising, developing and then testing technology was always at the center of technology. Then artificial intelligence burst into many people’s lives and you start to see that there has been a technological development that has been detached from the concern of what happens to people. So there are a series of methods and techniques that we use in human-computer interaction that can be put today at the service of the development of technologies that include artificial intelligence,” said López.

New Artificial Intelligence Policy

During the activity, the Undersecretary of Science, Carolina Gainza, announced that next October 23 and 24, in the framework of the “Foro sobre ética de la inteligencia artificial América Latina y el Caribe” (“Forum on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence – Latin America and the Caribbean”), Chile will present an update to the Artificial Intelligence Policy of 2021, which “was articulated around three axes: enabling factors, development of action and ethics. We need to address this more strongly today: ethical challenges, regulatory aspects, social and economic, and cultural aspects.”

“It is very important that our region has a voice in a discussion that is global. We cannot be left behind, we cannot be left out of a discussion that is finally marking the destiny of our societies in terms of technological development”, concluded the Secretary of State.

By Alonso Farías Ponce, CMM journalist.

Posted on Aug 15, 2023 in News