How do we build trust between humans and AI?

robot AI

(Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Rana El Kaliouby, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Affectiva


My mother lives 5,000 miles away in Cairo, Egypt. When she calls me, she can immediately tell if something is wrong, simply from the way I say “Hello” or “I’m fine”. Like many relationships with those we hold close, my mom and I have built a level of trust to the point that she knows how I’m feeling from a simple word or phrase.

But unfortunately, I, like many others in the world today, spend as much (if not more) time interacting with technology as I do with the people close to me. Yet unlike talking to my mom or a friend, the way we interact with devices is completely transactional. My cell phone can’t read between the lines and understand what’s really going on with me.

 

This issue is becoming more noticeable as our interactions with technology make increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI). As AI takes on new roles in society – from working alongside us, to driving our cars, assisting with our healthcare and more – we’re forging a new kind of partnership with technology. And with that partnership comes a new social contract: one that’s built on mutual trust, empathy and ethics.

Can AI trust us?

It starts with mutual trust. After all, we cannot effectively work or live with people that we don’t trust, and who don’t trust us back. AI is no different.

The examples of why mutual trust matters between people and AI reach far and wide. Take semi-autonomous vehicles, for instance. As these cars are still in development, they require a human driver to be prepared to take back control if the car’s AI can no longer safely navigate.

But how can the AI trust that the person is ready to take over? That the person who’s meant to drive is alert and engaged, and not drowsy or otherwise distracted? AI systems need to be able to really understand our emotional and cognitive states – in this case, recognizing if someone is showing signs of distraction or potentially dangerous states of impairment – before entrusting them.

So the question becomes: how can we foster a feeling as personal as trust with machines – and how can we make it mutual?

AI as an empathetic companion

According to Harvard Business School technology professor Frances Frei, empathy is one of the most important elements in establishing trust between people. So perhaps empathy is also the key to creating an understanding and trust between AI and humans.

The key to building AI that truly “gets” us isn’t to focus solely on cognition, but to develop algorithms with emotional intelligence. Much like in partnerships between people, giving AI the ability to understand how someone is feeling is the only way that a semi-autonomous car will know if its driver is fit to take the wheel, or a co-bot will understand if its human colleagues are feeling up to the job on a given day.

This may seem too personal or unnatural to some. But to me, continuing to advance AI research and development is not what will pose a threat to our jobs or mankind. The real question is, what will people do with the technology, and how will our choices for AI change our world?

Outlining the ethical development and deployment of AI

AI systems that are designed to engage with humans will have a lot of data, and will know a lot about the people they interact with. This raises concerns: while there’s a lot of potential for AI to improve our lives, there’s just as much potential for it to aggravate inequality or cause harm.

Image: Franck V/Unsplash

As we devise this new social contract, we need to set standards for the ethical development and deployment of AI. This means making sure that AI is built by diverse teams, and with diverse data, to ensure that the technology does not replicate biases that are inherent in society. It means considering the need for opt-in and consent when people interact with AI, and prioritizing data privacy.

Recognizing this, some of the brightest minds in technology, academia and beyond are already partnering up to set standards that will ensure people use AI ethically and for good – from MIT and Harvard’s Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative, to the Partnership on AI, which is a collaboration between large tech companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple, and start-ups like Affectiva. This is part of my charge as a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum, too. The Forum gives us an opportunity to discuss the implications of AI with leaders who bring perspectives from all different arenas and backgrounds.

There’s still so much to figure out as we navigate our changing relationship with AI. But there’s an immediate need to start framing the conversation in this way – as a partnership rooted in trust, empathy and understanding – rather than continuing to discuss AI in fear, and develop the technology without enabling it to really relate to us.

We’ll be exploring the new social contract between people and AI, and all of the associated implications, at Affectiva’s third annual Emotion AI Summit in Boston on 15 October. Register here if you’d like to join and help advance the conversation – we’d love to hear your thoughts.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Will the end of QE come along with ECB’s inflation target?

Safety fits into our palms: The role of mobile technology in healthcare systems and life saving

UK’s Cameron takes the field to speed up TTIP talks. Will “rocket boosters” work?

Japanese banks to move their European HQ from London to Frankfurt after Brexit

China is winning the electric vehicle race

Advocate General ‘outlaws’ Data Retention Directive

Brexit update: Will Theresa May’s last-minute desperate efforts procrastinate Brexit?

Six months into DR Congo’s deadliest Ebola outbreak, top UN official praises ‘brave’ response effort

The Catcher in the Rice

What living abroad does to your self-awareness

Societies must unite against ‘global crisis of antisemitic hatred’, Guterres urges

How traditional Islamic giving can play a role in the future of aid

Myanmar: New UN envoy offers to serve ‘as a bridge’, recognizes ‘positive steps’ over Rakhine state

Deal on protecting workers from exposure to harmful substances

Are medical students with equal access to the medical profession?

COVID-19 has accelerated India’s digital reset

How technology will transform learning in the COVID-19 era

Palestinian students ‘compelled to drop dreams because of financial cuts’

EU: Centralised economic governance and bank supervision may lead to new crisis

We must work together to build a new world order. This is how we can do it

In Afghanistan, attacks against schools have tripled in one year

With half of Somaliland children not in school, UNICEF and partners launch education access programme

Syria: UN-backed watchdog says chemical weapon ‘likely used’ in February attack

Fairness in the food supply chain: Commission proposes to increase price transparency

A free press is ‘cornerstone’ for accountability and ‘speaking truth to power’: Guterres

All talk but no action against fraudulent bankers

I cycled over 6,000km across the United States to document climate change. Here’s what I learned

Failure to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia is a mistake

5 things you might not know about Leonardo da Vinci

The German banks first to profit from public subsidies of trillions

Holocaust survivors rebuild lives and traditions in Rio de Janeiro

Drones are saving lives in Tanzania’s remote communities

Accelerating a more sustainable industrial revolution with digital manufacturing

Greece at the mercy of ECB while sailing through uncharted waters

Austria: reforms will be necessary to uphold high well-being levels

Khashoggi trial in Saudi Arabia falls short of independent, international probe needed: UN rights chief

MEPs want robust EU cyber defence and closer ties with NATO

COVID-19 has hit Black Americans hardest. Healing this divide would lift the nation

Croatian Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

Impossible Brexit options: WTO or new referendum?

The Junior Enterprise concept: Business & Education

Two-thirds of global drug deaths now from opioids: UN drugs report

What empty homes and hipster coffee shops tell us about globalization

Europe bows to Turkey’s rulers, sends Syrian refugees back to chaos

Rules of origin: EU to enhance preferential trade with Pan-Euro-Mediterranean (PEM) countries

EU leaders slammed on anti-tax evasion inaction and expensive energy

Lagarde: Keep feeding the banks cut down wages and food subsidies

The essence of care is cosmopolitan

A Sting Exclusive: “Europe must be more ambitious in COP21 and lead on climate finance and sustainable development”, Green UK MEP Jean Lambert points out from Brussels

Philippe de Backer of ALDE at European Business Summit 2015 stresses: “Reinvent your business”

Human Rights and Democracy: striving for dignity and equality around the world

Mental health at stake: A silent epidemic of 21st century

On their epic journeys, migratory birds connect nations and inspire people, UN says on World Day

Digital Assembly 2019: new actions on quantum, EU-Africa taskforce report and digital start-ups

Intergenerational, intercultural, interactive – The 2015 edition of JADE’s Generations Club: Transforming Europe into an entrepreneurial society

This AI-powered app aims to help people with autism improve their social skills

Unanswered questions for Europe’s youth in President Juncker’s State of Union

Further reforms can foster more inclusive labour markets in The Netherlands

Activist Greta Thunberg gets preview of UNHQ ahead of climate summit

Food for millions in Yemen at risk of rotting in key Red Sea port, warns UN

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s