AI for Good Global Summit should spawn actionable ideas: Q&A with Elim Kay

Renowned artificial intelligence (AI) expert Stephen Ibaraki recently interviewed Elim Kay, the CEO of Kay Family Foundationabout why he is supporting the AI for Good Global Summit this June in Geneva, Switzerland. Below is an excerpted version of the interview.

AI for GOODQ: Personally, professionally, and as CEO of the Kay Family Foundation, why are you supporting the ITU and the AI for Good Global Summit?

A:  “In my opinion, the fact that the summit has garnered support from many UN agencies is a very strong indicator of the collective recognition that embracing the topic of AI through reason-based engagement is both important and necessary.”

Q: What outcomes do you wish to see from the summit?

A: “I hope to see actionable ideas come out of the summit, derived from the momentum of the interactions and exchanges between the participants of the summit. Following the summit, I hope to see such ideas become realized. No matter how big or how small, the importance revolves around action being taken on such ideas.”

Q: In what ways can the Kay Family Foundation support the ITU and the Summit?

A:  “Philanthropy can be a source of ‘patient funding’ for ideas that do not necessarily yield monetary ROI but can help plant the seeds that grow to help catalyze thought leadership on topics that can potentially snowball into greater initiatives. As a philanthropic organization, our Foundation can see the value of this type of support. Kay Family Foundation can play in role in supporting such actionable ideas, as mentioned above, that come out of the AI for Good Global Summit as well as the greater ITU.”

Q: What are your top five program areas of interest at the Summit and do you have any stories to share behind your choices?

A:  “All of the programs at the summit are of high interest, however, one of the notable areas I am curious to learn [more about] at the summit is whether governments will develop formal regulation behind the commercial application of AI, how they intend to enforce such regulation, and the anticipated reaction from the dominant forces within the tech industry.”

Q: Which Sustainable Development Goals supported by AI do you find the most compelling and can you personalize why you made your choices?

A:  “First and foremost, I believe that all SDGs are important. That said, the SDGs I find to be compelling for AI to support are the ones that address areas around good stewardship for our planet, e.g. water, sustainability, clean energy, life under water, life on land, etc. Truthfully, these areas have not been top of mind previously, but I have come to appreciate these issues over time. Aside from the politicization around such issues, I believe it is a fundamental human responsibility to be good stewards to our earth, to do the best that we can do … and hopefully leave it in ‘net’ better shape for the next generation.

Q: What are your predictions for AI?

A:  “With the increasing convergence between humans and technology, the term ‘artificial’ will eventually cease to exist as an distinctive characterization for this form of alternative or synthetic intelligence. The progression of AI will see that it undoubtedly becomes more and more ubiquitous throughout the ‘layers of the human fabric’, and become embraced as a ‘natural’ part of human beings, their individual functionality, and interactions with each other.”

Q:  What other areas particularly related to computing do you feel need to be brought into focus for discussion and policy?

A:  “Ethics in computing is a critical area that I believe will undoubtedly experience broader discussion and policy. Living in a time where ‘information is power’, how we govern the acquisition, possession, and utility of such information requires great effort and careful management to implement checks-and-balances that are well thought out, but that also do not jeopardize the positive value delivery such information can deliver to society.”

The full interview can be read here.

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