Bill Gates says that AI should improve education and medicine


Bill Gates at the Stanford AI conference

Bill Gates speaks at Stanford's human-centered conference on AI.

Stephen Shankland / CNET

"Artificial intelligence is an unusual technology that can hurt us and help us," said Microsoft co-founder and now philanthropist Bill Gates. So for this to be a blessing, we should put AI at work to improve health and education.

"The world has not had so many promising and dangerous technologies," Gates said Monday, citing nuclear energy and nuclear weapons as other examples offering such deep potential for change. Regarding the areas in which Amnesty International has helped the society up to now, he said: "I will not say that there are so many."

But this is not necessarily the case. He chose medicine and education as areas in which AI could help humans at a lecture given by the new Stanford Institute for Artificial Intelligence focused on the subject. 39; man.

"It's a chance to overburden the social sciences, the most important being education," said Gates about the promise of Amnesty International. Gates, for years, has worried about the risks of AI technology.

Artificial intelligence, stimulated by the new utility of technology called neural networks, which relies vaguely on the functioning of the human brain, has revolutionized the technology sector. It is used for everything from face recognition to spam removal in inboxes. However, Gates does not want tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook to benefit.

More selenium, fewer premature births

As an example, he said, the AI ​​was used to analyze the genetic data of 23andMe in order to discover that a shortage of selenium elements could be associated with premature births in Africa. In 18 months, we will need to know if the resulting program, which will help 20,000 more women to help, will be useful.

"We expect a reduction of about 15% in prematurity, which, for the whole of Africa, should save about 80,000 lives saved each year," said Gates. .

For education, he hopes that AI will let us find what works in schools and replicate it elsewhere. "We have not even begun to do this work of understanding the motivation and commitment and teaching styles that would actually improve the system's performance – better learning, less learning and more. let's give up, "said Gates.

Gates is enriched with technology through its company's software, Microsoft Windows and Office, spread around the world. Since then, he has turned to philanthropic efforts, the most notable of which may be an effort to reduce the number of deaths from malaria.

Among other comments:

  • The United States has lost its technological edge over other countries, said Gates: "The United States was in a unique position for most of these advanced technologies. United remains the leader, but not in the same way. "In ten years, it may not be American researchers who decide how best to create an artificial intelligence capable of reading scientific research papers in order to discover progress in biology, he said.
  • The internal workings of current AI systems are too impenetrable. "It is troubling that today's deep learning systems are mostly opaque," said Gates. He hopes that someone will improve his "explainability" without degrading his performance.
  • "The profound societal changes in personal computing are just beginning," said Gates. The company is now becoming aware of the magnitude of the problems related to social networks. When he was at Microsoft, "it was not recognized that this kind of freedom would have such dramatic effects that we are just starting to debate today."
  • At the time he was working at Microsoft, it was feared that personal computers would widen the "digital divide" of economic opportunities between rich and poor, for example by giving students well-funded access to personal computers. But, he said up to now in education, "the value of personal computers is essentially zero", which made the audience laugh. "So that's good, we did not create this digital divide."

Reading in progress:
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The artificial intelligence in education: help humans to learn


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