ROBOTS AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: THE FUTURE OF A NEW WORLD
The collaboration between Superstudio Maxi and the nearby IULM University, with its garden of international students and ideas production, its vivacity and availability, ensures an exchange of experiences and training and entertainment opportunities that will enrich the cultural offer of Barona. A collaboration starting from the very opening of the centre, on September 5th 2021, with the presence of different initiatives curated by IULM, that is to say a workshop about artificial intelligence applied to Fashion and Design. Guido Di Fraia, Founder and CEO of IULM AI Lab and Pro-rector for Innovation and Artificial Intelligence at University, tells us how artificial intelligence is developing, proposing a reflection on ethical social and cultural questions that this impressive technological advancement brings with.
AI - Artificial Intelligence: is it correct to define it as artificial intelligence or is it better to talk about augmented intelligence? Why?
When we talk about artificial intelligence, we carry a definition of half a century. It is certainly more correct to call it augmented intelligence, because at the moment no technology is able to reproduce human intelligence, which is the only intelligence in the Universe we actually know. Augmented intelligence is given by machines that can 'increase' human cognitive, predictive and analytical abilities. Perhaps in the future we will really start talking about artificial intelligence and deal with this technology that is among the most 'disruptive' ones: able to generate a definitive change for the human species.
At what point of innovation are we today? How much and in which areas is AI widespread and in which direction are we going?
AI is already widespread in all areas and it is already defined as a generalist technology. We cannot confine it, just like electricity, to an industrial or application field. It is found everywhere, in any activity of human beings. Today we are at a point that it is technically defined as 'restricted artificial or augmented intelligence’: in other words, the machine is able to excel in the specific field of activity for which it was trained, coming to be even smarter than us, for example playing chess or going and beating the world championship or detecting breast cancer, but only and uniquely in that. AI is mono-directional and mono-focused. We are studying to develop an artificial intelligence, which can really be called such in the future. An AI that can use the same cognitive abilities and apply the same logic to several different fields, as humans do. When we get machines that can replicate the same intelligent logics across all domains, then we will have reached an artificial intelligence at human level.
You gave birth, with IULM University, to the IULM AI LAB - ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE FOR BUSINESS AND HUMANITY: what is it and what is its purpose?
The IULM AI LAB, which became a spin-off of the University, was born two years ago, from a project that I personally had in mind for some years, with the aim of generating a culture of innovation, with reference to augmented intelligence. Its goal is to help the business world, but also the civil society, to understand what are the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence and how it can help companies in the world of marketing, communication and business optimization. In addition, the lab is useful to become aware of the fact that this technology already exists and it is developing in a certain way, but also that it has to be controlled to prevent it from escaping from the hands of those who are using and managing it, as it requires great regulatory and ethical attention.
The exhibition ROBOT - The human project at MUDEC hosts various types of AI, including the "Cobot", robots that know how to recognize and transmit emotions, characterized by great utility and social acceptability. Are machines really capable of feeling or thinking?
Absolutely not. Machines are not able to feel emotions or think and we do not know whether or when they will be able to, if we will ever reach the artificial intelligence of the human level. Thinking that machines can derive information from a stimulus that excites them is therefore an anthropocentric naïf vision. On the other side, robots can really help and transmit feelings to people. As simulations, they play on those traits like the reproduction of the conformation of the face, the size of the eyes, the vocal reproduction, which stimulate emotional responses in humans.
The AI is therefore like a film: one does not wonder if it can get excited and it is not real, but it is able to transmit emotions to us.
Will robots replace the presence of man in the long run?
That’s a million-dollar question. In part they are already doing so: machines are replacing men in many fields and working areas, but not completely. So we don’t have to think about robots doing things for humans in a science-fiction perspective. Currently, as we are at the level where augmented intelligence works best if managed by human beings, there is a complementarity between man and machine. Furthermore, artificial intelligence will also bring a great demand in the world of work and we will need people who know how to use it, so the balance is positive for now. Then, as human beings, there is the possibility that we might be replaced by AI not only in our work, but more generally as a form of evolution of matter in the Universe, so in short... it depends on the perspective!