Eric Badiqué: AI will create a wave of innovation - Mediamax.am

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Eric Badiqué: AI will create a wave of innovation


Eric Badiqué
Eric Badiqué

Photo: Mediamax

Eric Badiqué
Eric Badiqué

Photo: Mediamax

Eric Badiqué
Eric Badiqué

Photo: Mediamax

Eric Badiqué
Eric Badiqué

Photo: Mediamax

Eric Badiqué
Eric Badiqué

Photo: Mediamax


Yerevan hosted International Conference on Data Science, Social Science with participation of scientists from Armenia and France. The conference was organized by Embassy of France in Armenia in cooperation with Toulouse Institute of Computer Science Research and National Academy of Sciences of Armenia with the support of French University of Armenia and Tumo Center for Creative Technologies.
 
Adviser for Artificial Intelligence at European Commission Eric Badiqué, who visited Armenia to participate in the conference, told Mediamax about current tendencies in Artificial Intelligence (AI), challenges of the sector and possible impact on societies.

AI opens new doors
 
At the conference in Armenia, I was asked to overview big issues in AI in the form of a session. We discussed the impact of AI on societies and industries, as well as global and ethical issues. Most of the questions were related to risks and the impact.
 
Touching upon the risks and anxiety among people, I mentioned the way AI will influence the job market. Many think that they will lose their job if we automate certain things and incorporate robots in industries and social services. Our discussion was aimed at explaining that it’s not going to happen overnight, and a lot of new jobs will be created in the process. I think that we are still at the beginning, and we still don’t understand really well what the impact will be. On the other hand, there is no reason to panic. We should think about the issues and work with all the people who will be concerned.

Eric Badiqué Eric Badiqué

Photo: Mediamax


In fact, as an example, some studies show that the number of employed people has increased in Germany since the introduction of robots in the car industry, which is explained by the fact that new types of more interesting jobs have appeared. I think that we have to be confident that AI will create a wave of innovation that will open new doors, creating new activities that we cannot imagine today.

The right way of developing AI
 
Maybe the right way of developing this sector is putting a framework around AI to ensure that we are safe, without taking too many risks. Since we know that AI still has very strong limitations, maybe we should let the creative, younger people invent new things with AI and support research in new ways. We have machines, robots, software and AI engines that can do very useful things, but they are very limited to a given context. They are very far from human intelligence, which means that there is a whole field to develop new algorithms that will go beyond what today often is a "black box".
 
In the future we need to have AI systems that will be trustworthy, transparent. AI system is not a human, which is why we have to make sure that private data is respected when we use AI engines. A number of different rules need to be agreed at the global level and respected.
Eric Badiqué Eric Badiqué

Photo: Mediamax


The European Union is now aimed at developing such guidelines with a high-level expert group. We are introducing a pilot phase to test these guidelines, as we want to provide a level playing field globally. We want to make sure that if companies sell a product in Europe that uses AI, they respect the fundamental rights.

AI systems and emotional intelligence
 
I think that we shouldn’t be afraid of AI. The AI-based machines are probably much further down the line in terms of understanding all emotions and many other aspects. You and I understand each other when we talk to each other, but it is not the case when it comes to robots. Therefore, there’s a lot of room for improvement and development of emotional intelligence for robots and other AI systems.
Eric Badiqué Eric Badiqué

Photo: Mediamax


However, we have questions about how far we should go, because we don’t want to replace human beings. The very important idea is an augmented human being. We want this technology to help the humans, to make them more powerful, faster and maybe to move some of the jobs higher up in the value chain. All the things that are really boring like entering data or doing some very basic analysis can be done by machines, which means that humans will be able to engage in more attractive tasks.

Opening up discussion with Europe

I didn’t know about Armenian science very much until I came here, but I have a better idea now. At the conference with participation of all scientists from Armenia, I noticed that there is a very strong academic presence. I’m sure that you have very good mathematicians, physicists. Armenia is known as a very important pool of excellence in IT in this region, so you have a lot of assets in Armenia. Within the frames of the event, we did one step towards opening up the discussion with France and Europe. Our countries strongly cooperate in this sector. A powerful supercomputer will be transferred from France to Armenia, which is a very significant development, as it relates to one of the most crucial strategies we are developing now in Europe on high-performance computing.
 
Based on this trip, we will try to help find the right partners in Europe, so that this machine can be used for test experiments. We would also like to bring together the Armenian and European communities in HPC, AI, cyber security. We have a political agreement for a new Program covering these three areas in the next framework.
 
We are already discussing financing, as well as the types of programs we want to run. We have proposed a program called Digital Europe that basically works on these 3 fields: AI, HPC and cyber security, with financing of 2.5 billion over 7 years, a significant contribution.

We want to cooperate with a country like Armenia. The European Union is supporting Armenia in a very strong way in many other areas. As an example, the EU4Digital Initiative is a very interesting development, which enables us to support Armenia with a budget of EUR 11 million to develop regional pilots in telecom rules, e-skills and e-health. We are also cooperating on roaming and cyber security. It’s evident that there has been a whole series of policies.

Have strategy and focus on limited areas
 
Creating things like transfer of technology, bringing back many Armenian students from abroad, building strong IT companies is obviously the right way for Armenia to move forward.
Eric Badiqué Eric Badiqué

Photo: Mediamax


I think that making the right choices is essential. If you want to be successful, you have to have a strategy, which allows you to focus on a limited number of areas. You cannot do everything at the same time. If IT is your strong point and you want to focus on AI, go for it, built an AI center of excellence and sell it well. You need to bring industries and science together, around concrete and well-defined areas of interest.

 FAST Foundation is the general partner of the project 

Mari Taryan


Photos: Emin Aristakesyan




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