Sodergren on AI: “The right AI is the most important thing humankind will ever create”

Categories: Salford Business School

Artificial Intelligence is the most important thing humanity will ever create, and so we have to get it right, says a leading tech and #tech4good expert.

Dan Sodergren, Co-Founder and CIO of YourFLOCK, a remote team culture mapping tool and recruitment aid, is a tech evangelist, futurist and media spokesperson. He will be giving a free talk for the University of Salford next Wednesday as part of a series on Disruptive Technology.

Dan will focus on the huge importance of diversity and inclusion in AI and how if we get the development of AI systems wrong it could have catastrophic consequences.

He said: “The key thing is that machine learning is having a bigger hold and sway over businesses. If your business doesn’t use AI in the future - your business will not operate. And no matter what you will be using AI without knowing.

“The problem we face is that the principles behind the scenes are not without bias. Data sets can create problems. A racist or sexist AI will create huge problems. But there is a weird misunderstanding that computers are automatically not racist. Computers do what we tell them to do with datasets and if those datasets have racial bias, which many do, then the AI will too. It’s that simple.

“People going for jobs could be discriminated against and they wouldn’t even know it.

“This is the most important thing that humanity will ever create. It is a fundamental need that we get it right. We need to look into the ethics of this right at the start. The Government needs to intervene, this is more important than the equalities act.

“It could get dark very quickly if we allow it to. Especially in areas like recruitment.”

YourFLOCK, which Dan helps run, just gained an innovation grant from Innovate UK as it uses a person’s self reported values, rather than other characteristics, to add into the decision making process to help find the right person for a role. And to build more productive teams.

He said: “That is the kind of thing we need to be doing. An AI that sees a person values will not be one that discriminates unfairly. We need to stamp out bias in tech to get this right. For the future of work. For all our sakes.”

Dan’s lecture, next Wednesday at 2pm, is the latest in a series looking at how technology will change everything. Organised by Dr Alex Fenton from Salford University Business School and Professor Andy Miah from the School of Science, Engineering and Environment, they are being broadcast live and recorded on YouTube and other social media, with the links and registration available on the website.

Dr Fenton said: "We are really looking forward to welcoming Dan to our successful Disruptive Technologies guest speaker series. These are critical issues which we will explore and discuss with our experts and audiences."

Register for this free event.

Up to date information and events schedule can be found on the website.

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