Over the past decades and even the past few years, there have been tremendous advancements in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning. From the 1940s, when AI helped decode the Enigma machine in World War II to advanced voice recognition in the 2010s, AI has come a long way. Today, it’s radically changing the business landscape.
Companies and organizations across the world now leverage AI technology to help guide their decision-making, cut costs, and improve outcomes. One question still lingers, though — can AI machine learning replicate human values? AI is incredibly powerful, but many would argue that it still needs a human element to be useful and meaningful. In this blog, we’ll explore what it means for businesses to have AI understand and potentially replicate human values.
How Does AI Machine Learning Help Businesses?
But first, why should businesses care about AI machine learning in the first place? AI technology helps businesses in many ways, including:
- Improving demand forecasting – Using historical sales data and data from client interactions, AI can automatically create accurate sales forecasts to help companies anticipate demand.
- Automating customer service – Companies can use AI technology to run automated customer service chats that don’t require any real-time input from employees. The AI can also flag these messages according to tone and urgency to send them along, if necessary, to the appropriate team members.
- Facilitating the hiring process – Hiring can be a tedious, costly task for the human resources team at a company. AI technology can automatically analyze and filter through resumes and shortlist the top candidates, plus it can recommend the remaining candidates for other open job positions if applicable.
- Heightening cyber security – Every company needs to implement cyber security measures to protect against costly cyberattacks and data breaches. AI can predict risk and identify threats before they attack to reduce or eliminate the impact of cyberattacks.
- Running targeted marketing campaigns – Sweeping marketing campaigns can be expensive and ineffective. With the help of AI, companies can run targeted marketing campaigns instead that show ads only to specific audiences. The technology takes data about audiences’ online activities and searches and determines the best consumers to show certain ads to.
These are just a few of the many applications of AI and machine learning for businesses. There are also industry-specific applications of AI that business leaders in those industries might find useful. In the financial services industry, for example, companies can use AI to improve their loan underwriting and reduce their exposure to risk.
Aligning AI with Human Values
Ideally, when you give AI technology a command, it will return the results you’re looking for. If you type in a command to an AI-powered program and it returns an error rather than your intended results, that’s a concern. The AI didn’t do what you told it to. Though this can be frustrating, it should also be a fairly easy fix — you amend your command to be more specific or accurate.
A deeper problem can arise, however, when AI technology does follow the command the user gave, it just doesn’t do what the user intended. Users want AI technology to do what they mean, not necessarily exactly what they say.
Take this example: A programmer was trying to get his robotic vacuum to learn how to navigate without bumping into things. He hooked the vacuum up to a neural network with a reward scheme that discouraged hitting the bumper sensors. The result? The vacuum learned to always drive backward around the house, since there are no bumper sensors on the back. Even though the AI had followed the instructions the programmer specified, it hadn’t accomplished his intended goal at all.
Aligning AI machine learning with human goals and values is all about finding a way to get AI technology to discern what users really want them to do. When the technology can accurately reason about what people want — not just what they say — it becomes much more useful. And for those who worry about superintelligence and a future AI takeover, aligning AI with human values is the obvious solution.
Challenges of AI Alignment
That’s not to say that getting AI to align with human values is easy, however. Some researchers have tried to impart moral philosophy principles to AI-powered machines with little success, for example. There’s also the issue that people’s values aren’t stagnant. They change over time and people often behave in irrational ways that go against their stated values. How can machines keep up with all of those factors? And even if they could manage it, whose values should we try to impart to AI technology?
These are all complicated questions researchers are dealing with in the field of AI machine learning alignment. On a smaller scale, businesses using AI-powered programs must be aware of potential alignment issues. Enterprises purchase this technology with clear goals for its use, but there’s no guarantee the programs will automatically meet those goals. Business leaders need to continually check in on their AI technology to ensure the technology is performing what they intend, not just what they say.
For AI machine learning to have a positive effect on businesses and the world at large, we need to align AI systems with human values and goals. This is the only way to ensure that AI carries out the intended goals of the people or companies utilizing the technology.
Business leaders considering implementing AI machine learning in their companies should carefully consider their goals and values before choosing an AI solution. For a real-time data analytics platform powered by AI machine learning, look no further than Live Earth. The Live Earth platform leverages AI technology and an unmatched, diverse data set to help enterprises detect patterns in real-time and make better-informed decisions. Whatever your business objective for AI and data analysis, Live Earth can give you the controls to achieve your goals. Schedule a call with the Live Earth team today!