Why AI is Critical to the Future of Humanity, with Peter Cochrane


Exclusive Interview with: Peter Cochrane

Engineer, scientist, and entrepreneur, Professor Peter Cochrane’s research and career has kept him at the forefront of technology for over 40 years. Cochrane’s company, Cochrane Associates, operates on 4 continents researching and creating breakthrough prototypes in Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life, fixed and mobile nets, complex systems, human interfaces, and wearables, among other technological niches. The former CTO for British Telecom, Cochrane is also an expert in executing the type of operational and managerial transformations companies must make to stay relevant as technology takes us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Without AI our species will suffer terrible consequences. The world in which we live now presents complexity beyond the human mind and ability.

SPEAKING.COM: There are many worries about AI, but you say the reality is technology makes life better for us. What are some of the top ways AI is already making life better for us?

COCHRANE: Without AI our species will suffer terrible consequences. The world in which we live now presents complexity beyond the human mind and ability. For Example:

Without AI we cannot attain sustainable societies that will depend upon new materials and processes, nor could we analyse the complex relationships between flora, fauna, oceans, clouds, weather, global warming and human activity. All of this is way beyond the human mind, mathematics and modelling.

Searching for cancer cells or interpreting medical images, accurate analysis and diagnosis of medical conditions is dramatically enhanced/improved, and without AI people would die!

All our major industries, products, farming, food production and delivery and many of our vehicles and appliances are critically dependent upon AI – and without it, we would not see such quality, performance, reliability, affordability

A new book is published every 13 seconds with academic and industry research papers arriving every 13 milli-seconds. Such a tsunami of discovery and information demands AI for sorting, categorising, correlation and checking, and the combinations leading to breakthroughs in medical and material science et al. This AI future includes education and cannot be understated!

SPEAKING.COM: What are some innovations currently happening in AI that we will see integrated into our daily lives within the next 5 years?

COCHRANE: For the average person, companies and government voice access presents the biggest user opportunity followed by visualisation and a growing library of solutions being assembled one problem at a time. Get a problem, solve it using AI, and then make it public for all mankind is the critical formula!

The biggest advance as of today is the migration from the programming of AI by humans to AI observing, deriving rules and outcomes, to AI effectively self programming/learning followed by continual refinement through experience.

In medical and industry the buddy-buddy working of human and machine sees errors and discoveries of one team instantly shared across thousands of teams worldwide. This gives an immediate ability and intellect amplification across the population that is fundamentally impossible with humans alone!

SPEAKING.COM: How do we ensure that AI continues to be used to benefit common people?

COCHRANE: All technology is benign; it is humans who employ technology for corrupt purposes, so we have to guard against human bias and intervention in the machine learning. This is particularly true in legal and medical apps, plus media and social networks. BUT AI affords us the ability to purge the wrong, the fake, the perverted, and the errors!

Voice I/O is the biggest gift to the common man. To be able to talk to an intelligent entity is biologically natural to our species. Soon this will be extended to robots and other human augmenting technologies that will counteract our intellectual, physical and educational shortcomings.

AI is the biggest breakthrough for ICT, education and industry since the invention of Windows, the mouse, and the browser – and it makes using a computer and most other interfaces 1000 fold simpler!

With any technology you have to ask: How many human lives were lost and how many were saved? In the case of mobile devices, social networks and AI, that ratio is 1000:1.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some ways to handle the seeming clash between AI and privacy?

COCHRANE: The balance lies in what you can gain by sacrificing your information and knowledge. This is an individual choice for sure. For me, I am more interested in my medical history being available to an A&E team in NY or Tokyo than keeping it all a secret. I want to live! People have to think about and decide what is important to them.

Most critics of social media and AI do not engage or use it, and so their opinions are without credibility, but they can still do damage. With any technology you have to ask: How many human lives were lost and how many were saved? In the case of mobile devices, social networks and AI, that ratio is 1000:1, so their defence is not a viable issue!

SPEAKING.COM: What are some new jobs that you believe will be created by AI and other emerging technologies?

COCHRANE:
• Human arbiters of Ethics and Safety in AI and Robotics

• Lawyers of AI and Robotic rights, responsibilities, causality and culpability

• Consultants and experts of AI and Robotics adoption and deployment

• Security specialist in security across the field of AI and Robotics

• Sociologist of a society of things:

• Human, AI, AR, Robotic, interface designers

China is showing every indication of getting past the winning post first, and if they do, they will rapidly overtake the USA and the EU as the world’s largest economy by embedding their AI to all domestic and industrial products we then purchase and use.

SPEAKING.COM: How might China’s growing position as a leader in AI change the international economic and political landscape?

COCHRANE: AI is at the kernel of Industry 4.0 and the leaders in this race will mirror the UK and the first Industrial revolution. Their society will become the pinnacle of success and wealth.

China is showing every indication of getting past the winning post first, and if they do, they will rapidly overtake the USA and the EU as the world’s largest economy by embedding their AI to all domestic and industrial products we then purchase and use.

This outcome is becoming ever more sure by the rise of ignorance and the denigration of science and engineering education throughout the West – whilst the converse is true of Southeast Asia.

SPEAKING.COM: Why is AI a necessity for taking on the ecological and sustainability challenges humanity faces?

COCHRANE: The complexity of this problem is way beyond any of the inherent abilities of the human mind. We are essential simple linear thinks, but the ecology is complex and non-linear in the mathematical sense – and we have no suitable mathematical frameworks to tackle and understand this paradigm. To completely understand all of this, we will need a combination of AI and Quantum Computers

To be clear: Our existing models of Chemistry, Biology and Life are simple/crude first order approximations – insufficient for the pace of understanding and discovery we need to survive by correcting/limiting global warming along with the denuding of the Earth’s raw materials. Only the combinations of Quantum Computing and AI can save the day!

We already have new metals that are 10x stronger and lighter than normal metals, and plastic that can store energy or be programmed for colour.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the new materials/industrial processes you claim are needed for sustainability?

COCHRANE: We need metals, ceramics and plastics that can be used, repurposed, reused, recovered and recycled with an efficiency greater than 98%. We also need them to be stronger, lighter and more amenable to printing, programming and shaping.

We already have new metals that are 10x stronger and lighter than normal metals, and plastic that can store energy or be programmed for colour. Hydrophobic coatings are now being used to reduce the friction in pipes and on the hulls of seagoing vessels to reduce energy costs.

In the drug and medical industries, AI is now discovering new solutions faster than people! Meanwhile, 3D printing and programmable materials are starting to replace machining, pressing and shaping.

Notably, AI plays a fundamental role in each of these nano and bio-tech domains!

SPEAKING.COM: Another topic you speak on which has been prominent in national conversation the past few years is tackling “fake news” and misinformation. Your site states “We now need a global effort to police and neutralise the sources of Fake information.” Could you elaborate on that statement please?

COCHRANE: Since I made this statement I have designed and partially completed the build of a ‘Truth Engine’ with teams from the UK, Austria, Bulgaria and Qatar. Our objective is to purge the net of falsehoods and errors plus detect the liars, their lies, the propaganda, and the fake news in real time. So far many of the components are working well, with some exceeding expectations in terms of their accuracy and response time!

SPEAKING.COM: Many people are convinced that legitimate journalism or fact checkers are the parties manipulating information and news. What can be done to combat fake news in light of this mentality?

COCHRANE: These people need education/persuading, but more likely, a catastrophe may be necessary for them to see the realities and the full danger. The USA has bifurcated in terms of racial hatred while the UK has bifurcated in terms of Brexit. Both campaigns were fuelled by lies, threats and fake news. Similar bifurcations are visible within the EU and we stand to lose our hard won freedoms through a self-inflicted death of democracy.

To bring technology speaker, Prof. Peter Cochrane, OBE, to your organization, please contact Michael Frick at: Mike@Speaking.com

© SPEAKING.com, published on September 25, 2019

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