If We Want Humane AI, It Has to Understand All Humans

The first picture flashes on the screen. “A man is standing next to an elephant,” a robotic voice intones. Another picture appears. “A person sitting at a table with a cake.”Those descriptions are obvious enough to a person. What makes them remarkable is that a human is not supplying the descriptions at all. Instead, the tech behind this system is cutting-edge artificial intelligence: a computer that can “see” pictures. Fei-Fei Li, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab, is standing on a lit stage in a dark auditorium showing off the advanced object-recognition system she and her fellow researchers built. But as impressive as the system is, Li grows more critical as her presentation unfolds. She says that even if the computer is technically accurate, it could do more. The…


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