Author is chair of Logic, Pontifical Lateran University and in the book, he is interviewing different persons from different field to talk about how digitalization, universal connectivity and technology development are shaping our world and future.
Piero Scaruffi author of Intelligence is Not Artificial is saying that difference between canine and human intelligence is that the latter knows that it knows, for human beings are self-aware. Consciousness is not artificial.
Francesco Cassanelli – retired pilot of Alitalia
The technology is surely more economically convenient. The human brain needs knowledge, continual training, serenity, and all this has a price; it costs a lot more. There’s a request for everything to be standardized, so that everything, even the pilots. But at the same time technology is requesting that the pilot interface perfectly with the new machines.
Things change, when he was in school, they thought him that atom was the smallest thing there was in nature. Today the atom has become, in physics, something as big as a watermelon.
He hopes that economy will become more ethical. It is producing a lot of trash, but on the other hand it also gives rise to considerable individual earnings and power.
Eric Schimdt and Jared Cohen – Alphabet and Jigsaw
Right now, our use of AI is very tactical: it makes something more capable, making it better and better. We’re not at the point where real questions about AI come into play and won’t be for a while.
Privacy is important, if nothing else because we all make mistakes as human beings. A lot of teenagers today will maybe not be as happy when those mistakes that are today on social media, will haunt them when they will go for let’s say public office.
Autonomous cars will bring better ratio of deaths.
In the healthcare Google is more the incubator, since their ability to do large trials is not on a level of big healthcare companies.
There is always question of large corporations and the data that they assemble. Corporations have many reasons to keep that secret. I am actually more worried about the governments’ big data, because governmental systems tend to be poorly architected and easily broken into.
You have to make a difference in some way. A combination of impact and enjoyment is the best life.
Don Norman – Design Lab
He helped develop the field of information processing which then became the field of cognitive psychology.
Modern design is a way of thinking. It’s a way of thinking and the field I call human-centric design is thinking based around people.
Complex social technical systems like healthcare, medicine, education and transportation systems, the environment. These are complex issues. They probably do not have solutions, that is, not a single solution.
People make logical-sounding but wrong assumptions. What they do, they develop a long argument, and then people usually examine the argument in detail, and they can’t find the flaws, so they accept the conclusion. They seldom think about whether the assumptions are right.
We are so used to the fact that the teacher stands in front of the class and lectures, but actually lecturing is the worst way to teach.
Elliot Rosner – Cubic
One of the sectors of society that has been most profoundly impacted by the digital revolution is that of the military. Cubic Corporation is from San Diego. They design, integrate and operate systems products and services that increase situational awareness and understanding for our customers in the transportation and defense industries. They solve complex problems with innovative technologies. They use simulations and integrated laser engagement systems for military training. They are running Combat Training Centers around the world.
In transportation industry, they are responsible for Oyster Card in London Tube. With the data they have, they could be strong partner of transportation authorities in different cities.
Their moto is: global, innovative and trusted.
Breanna Fulton – digital native (young person leaving in digital world)
YouTubers are people who vlog on YouTube. People don’t watch television anymore; they do YouTube and Netflix. Binge-watching is when you don’t watch something for a while and then you watch it all at once. Even TV talk shows are now watched on YouTube.
Martin Sorrell – founder of WPP
WPP market capitalization is around 30 billion USD with 200.000 people and they are present in 112 countries. They have great annual reports. They have 70 USD billings revenue a year (20-23 billion is their revenue). They have one third of the market. Their expansion plans are based on geographical and technology expansions. They went to China in 1985, they also quickly moved into BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and then to Next II (Indonesia, Nigeria and Mexico).
Their strategic objectives are:
- Horizontal – integration of what they offer.
- Fast growth markets.
- Digital – it is 37% of their business.
They have profiles that they own, anonymized profiles of everybody who lives in the United States, all 300 million of them. They don’t know who they are, but they have specific identificator for everybody.
If you can get the consumer comfortable with security, I think the privacy issue sort of falls away because if I know that it’s secure, I’m not worried about privacy.
Their platform is Xaxis. The most sophisticated programmatic platform in the world. It is based on AppNexus technology. If you use DobleClick or Facebook, you don’t know how the page ranking is done. They also have Turbine, which is a sort of extension of their programmatic platform. The also bought company called Essence.
They are not competing with Google, they are frenemy. They have 4 billion USD with Google. With Murdoch they do 2.5 billion.
Their vision is based around talent, they are investing heavily into people.
They are careful about their customers and approaches. You can only sell a bad product once. But they do work on satisfying a psychological need, even if that mean that people get things they don’t really need.
He believes in engagement; he is replying email very quickly. In his view, you never win, by not communicating. You don’t win by humiliating people publicly; you win by engaging. They have a power to build, to help companies build their reputations.
They do cigarette advertising, but they believe that it is consumer that decides and that he/she is educated enough.
Maurice Levy – CEO of Publicis Group
Centuries ago, when someone encountered a person of refined taste and elegant clothing, knowledgeable about current events, able to speak multiple languages, evincing a vast cultural understanding, acutely aware of his own place in history, that person would be called a “Renaissance man”.
Advertising is an integral part of market economy, a key element. The role of advertising is to develop mass production/consumption. Without advertising the Google and the Facebooks of the world could not have become what they are today. The whole internet model is actually built on free services for advertising. Freedom of press and democracy is linked to advertising. Mass production and services for all is connected with advertising. It is all about emotions and feelings. They define their company as the alchemy of creativity and technology, as the combination of IQ plus EQ plus TQ plus BQ, all these factored by CQ. IQ stands for intellectual quotient, E for emotional, T for technology, B because world is moving very fast and you have to be bloody quick. And C is for creativity.
Their customers usually are looking for transformation of their business. And data is important in this process. In order to transform customers, they first transformed themselves. 50 percent of their business comes from digital technologies.
Since companies like IBM and Accenture were buying digital agencies, Publicis decided to add consulting and technology to our services. Now they can offer everything from building marketing platform to the transaction directly on e-commerce, through media and creative.
He believes in stakeholder value not just shareholder. Employees are also contributing to company, not only shareholders. Profit and success are important, but so are values.
The power of advertising is best used when communication is hones: it is about trust, true values and good deals for the consumers. One of their founding beliefs is to believe in mankind, as they say in French: nous croyons en l’Homme, they believe in people and talents. Their mantra is Viva la difference (three languages – Spanish, French and English.
Sometimes it is much better to have strong principles and to rely on principles rather than on rules, systems and processes.
Dave Aitel – former NSA software developer, specialist for cybersecurity, founder Immunity
One of their services is called Canvas, it is penetration testing tool. He sees hacking as discipline. There is a shared ethical and moral set of values of hackers and almost historic culture of things that they find funny. Hacking is really a mindset, not just operation.
The mantra of hacker is that you take a proposition and you add the phrase “except when it is not” at the end of proposition.
Idea that things are going to get better if we apply enough technology to them, not only better, but full of liberty can be very dangerous. Development of boundaries of technology can be influenced more from financial view (what can be monetized) then legal or even technological. When money is gone, there is no need for invading into privacy.
There are no such thing as good and bad guys. Some people act benevolently but in fact cause great harm, other are malicious but they do great good by mistake.
Regulatory framework called Wassenaar that was used to control arms usage (especially nuclear weapons), is now including also software, especially intrusion software.
Cyber security is the biggest issue in the world everyone means that, but what they really mean is that they hope someone else deals with it and not me, because I don’t want to pay for it. It is similar to global warming, pollution, the typical tragedy which is common but now written on the electronic page.
Data confidentially is not a priority. It is fear. Priority is different. Priorities are where you put your money, time and energy. Fears are emotions that we cannot deny, but does not mean we act on them.
In security we have all collectively, as a society, spent a lot of money on technology for cyber security that we realize does not work.
We are totally stupid as species. He has learnt not to judge, but simply to observe things.
Governments are losing power, Google hoped that government will fend off the Chinese hackers, but they didn’t do anything about it. On the other hand, they expect from them, to enable back-door into Android, for them to tap in the phones of enemies. But that can lead to rise of Chinese that will market system which is not back-doored and the Europeans will buy it.
Little insecurity is good, it provides you with some freedom. Perfect security is its own kind of tyranny. There are not a lot of true AI projects in the world. Google, Amazon, maybe Apple. AI will be like nukes, eventually we will get used living with it.
Christopher Altieri – Vatican Radio
As institution, we are still wrestling with how best to use the new technologies in service of mission.
The means by which a message is conveyed determines the mode in which the message is transmitted and that medium determines also the content of the message.
Information has become infotainment. It’s a problem in a free society. The fourth estate has historically been important because it has informed and galvanized citizens. Now it is distracting and sapping the energies of the people.
Franco Stefani – industrial automated systems – System Group
His key goal was to transform industrial processes into automatic processes. They are in 25 countries. His main field is mechatronics. Electronic controlling small processes and mechanic movements.
Machines are created to be at man services. They can do hard work, but they cannot replace the human being in the will power to do something. The willpower to do something is imagination. The feeling that drives you into action. His business philosophy is based on knowledge.
If there are no people, then machines cannot exist. Man has to be ruler of what happens around him. Machines can help us, just like all the tools that we use.
Anders Sandberg – The Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University and Amlin
He is part of Sweden trio of Max Tegmark, Nick Bostrom and him. He also works for Amlin, reinsurance company. In 1990 there was serious crisis in reinsurance market, since everybody owed each other more money than they could pay. Mathematical models which everybody is using are not true.
James Martin who earn fortune in 1970, 80s in computing business gave money to set up interdisciplinary school to solve all the big problems for the next century. This was done at Oxford. When you start thinking big, you start wonder, what are the really important values? Existential risk is one of the more obvious ones.
Sometimes we were saved by chance. Like with Cuban missile crisis. If it would escalate in nuclear war, a lot of things would be different.
When we look at the hype around artificial intelligence, whose fault it is, we can say it is everybody fault. The end result of everybody talking about it, is that everybody tends to amplify each other. We have epistemic system in our civilization that is broken. It’s at least not working very well. We need to improve it. Digital media are quite essential, because they are very much part of both the problem and the potential solution.
At Asilomar in 1972, they didn’t have ethicist around, so they were able to come to some common agreement. That is always a problem when you want all voices to be heard, but you also need something workable enough to get something started.
Question about ethics in AI, can also be question if we can let’s say compute Kantian ethics into a program. Kant would probably say that machines are not moral agents. But even if they are not, they can still be dangerous. Issue that could arise is if machine would have a self-modifying potential and they would start to think what was intended rather than what was explicitly said. This kind of software is available already for some time, but it is not used a lot, since it is not a good solution. If you are not intelligent and you modify your -self, you’re going to do something stupid.
Professor Jurgen Schmidhuber wrote a book about what he calls Godel machine. A piece of software that proves theorems about its own code. If it can prove, that by changing itself in a way, that it is going to be better, then it will do it. Something like enforcement learning systems. Their criteria are maximizing rewards.
Regarding safety issues in AI, first we need to figure out, what problems really are.
People accept unthinkable risks because they are used to them.
China is struggling to control all the new media people are inventing. Since they don’t know how people will use them.
It is interesting to see how quickly the governments are all agreeing that surveillance is totally right because if you have nothing to hide, then why object? At the same time, they immediately try to safeguard their own secrets when citizens want to ask for them.
Johan Seibers – professor of Philosophy
Understanding language and understanding thought is to understand that there is something that cannot be reduced to a rule-based operation, not to statistical pattern. Thinking about philosophical distinction between syntax and semantics – is the structure of a language (let’s say grammar) different from the meaning of a language. Pieter Seuren always stressed the organic unity of semantic and syntax. But minimalist programme dismissed the idea of a strong rule-based relation between syntax and semantics.
Meaning is infinite, it is endless. Meaning can never be reduced to an operation that we carry out. Heraclitus says no matter how deeply you look into the soul, you will not find the boundary. But machines can be able to do something like simulation of meaning. You can compare this to a difference between what it means to be a speaker of a language as opposed to a language processing unit. The speaker of the language occupies this ambiguous symbolic space: to speak a word that is not the thing, but somehow the thing and the word belong together and can stand for each other. For a language processing unit, there are no real words, you might say. There is no verbum, no act of speaking. A symbol is something that stands for something else. Without it, we cannot have consciousness. Consciousness is knowing that you know, experiencing that you experience. It is any first-person, subjective state. Intelligent behavior, even learning behavior and the management of ambiguity, fuzziness and ambivalence, may well exist without self-consciousness. It is important to understand identity of being and thinking. Being is just that which is thought, or known. Thinking is thinking of being. The two are the same and yet different.
Pope John Paul II said that Catholic thinkers should not try to find problems with evolution theory. The Pope insisted that the soul is created each and every time, and that is something which cannot be accounted for in evolutionary terms.
Predicting the future means reducing uncertainty: based on what is happening now, we can extrapolate that such and such is going to happen in the future. Scenario planning is thinking in these terms: based on the drivers that are present today, what are the alternative futures that might be and what are the knowns and unknowns.
Shell invented long-term scenario thinking along with the RAND Corporation in the 1950, 60s.
Education should change based on technology influence. It appears there are two modes or mentalities of knowing: tying something back to what you already know, or letting go of what you already know to understand what is new. We can search for more diversified approach in order to get away from the idea that one size fits all.
Digitalization is not a threat to humanity, but an opportunity to explore avenues that we may not have even known about. This is what an open mind to the future can actually show you. Clinging to the past, to a fixed identity, is often related to fear and security, but embracing the new can only be done with courage and hope. We should think like Ernst Bloch, about alliance between nature, the human sphere and technology.
Troy Anderson – Canberra, subsidiary of Areva
Power plants usually have two networks. One is business network, which is secure, and then the other one will be the instrumentation network, which is very separate from the business network.
Stuxnet virus was a virus that the US government created along with the Israeli Secret Services and planted into Iranian nuclear processing facility.
Transition that is happening today is to move a lot of computing activities and intelligence from desktop computers and servers into devices.
It is important to use technology cautiously and to try to be aware of potential vulnerabilities in the technology.
Bill Shores – engineer of the original team for Motorola that invented cell phone technology
Iridium was a company that had sixty-six active satellites. They offer services to others. But they went bankrupt. Assets were acquired from another company and they are now focusing on more vertical markets like shipping, freight areas and others where there is no ability to communicate.
Kids today use internet for infotainment and entertainment. They ask why they have to learn if they have Google. They want to take the quick route, they want to get an answer, they don’t really want to understand how the answer was derived. That can be dangerous.
With AI, the problems can be unintended consequences.
Carlo D’Asaro Biondo – President of Google for EMEA
Development of technology can be seen from creating connection between computers, to emergence of search engines, birth of social networks (connecting persons), now we come to connection of laptops and smartphones, home automation and we will probably come to a point when connectivity is continues and constant.
The technology is neither good nor bad, it is neutral. It is how we use it, that matters. Google is a company that can afford to invest time and resources to solve complex problems. Google does not have a defined long-term vision. Five years is a very long period. Google starts from principle: there is a consumer, one experiences and listens to the consumer and it is he who tells you where you need to go. Internet becomes a little like water or electricity: you cannot live without it, or you will be worse off without it. Google mission is to provide information to all. All these products are made with this principle: first we create, then we try to make money from them because we have solved a problem.