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AI in 2020 with #500daysofAI

This is not another article attempting to predict what will happen in 2020 in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). There are plenty of those out there! Instead I thought I would spend a moment to reflect on the year that has passed for me writing about AI and topics I would like to explore going forward. However first a quick explanation of my personal project.

This article is part of a personal project called #500daysofAI. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days.

I am currently on day 211.

I started the project after a long conversation with a weapon scientist developing autonomous technology. It is likely to have been a combination of concern, fear, excitement and curiosity that drove me to start on this journey.

It is absolutely stunning what can be done within the field of artificial intelligence, mind-boggling in fact that we can cure or detect some forms of cancer quicker. It is equally stunning, although not surprising, to see weapons incorporating this technology being developed across the globe in a variety of locations.

I set out to learn more 210 days ago and every day has been a day of snippets of new insight into a complex and puzzling field.

AI is very popular with the private sector and governments. There has been a variety of initiatives around the world in terms of investment and strategies to support a long-term focus on AI.

There is a lot of fear for what AI can do right now and in the future. This fear is not unfounded, and voices such as Stuart Russell and Max Tegmark have been making great contributions to discussion of long-term AI safety and security. The Future of Life Institute is of course worth mentioning in this context.

Every day there is more written in the field of artificial intelligence. The first surprise to me was that I would not be running out of material to explore. Many have asked me if it is easy to run out, and I would say the opposite in the case of artificial intelligence the past year.

A second surprise is that according to Google Trends the topic has not experienced a drastic increase in 2019. It is currently stable in popularity, although this is high.

A third surprise is that the climate crisis is often not a focus in discussions of ethics in the field of artificial intelligence. Talking about sustainability in specific is not mentioned often either.

A fourth surprise has been the joy of having readers to critique what you are writing or bringing up the discussions that you present on other occasions.

My current focus for 100 days 200–300 is national and international strategies for artificial intelligence.

From 300–400 is not certain, however it is not impossible that it will be related to cybersecurity or programming. Alternatively I may focus on attempting to understand how to make the infrastructure surrounding AI, all the servers, transport, etc. more sustainable.

400–500 is even more uncertain. If I do get that far I would need topics to round off with.

  • Interviews! I think putting together a profile of a person or a company was some of the most rewarding and fascinating work I did. Since part of my goal is learning more this works well too. Getting a professional audio recorder and good distribution would not be bad either.
  • Talks. I had a series of talks in 2019 and it was fun to attempt condensing learnings into a speech event, that is to communicate information in a way that is helpful to the listener.
  • Programming (coding). I want to participate in more hackathons and work on specific projects. I could perhaps even possibly have a passion project related to #500daysofAI. Incorporating it even more into my work would be great too.
  • Travel to conferences. There are some central conferences in regards to AI and it would be great to take the time to attend and plan it out some time beforehand.
  • Video. Starting to experiment with vlogging or video on YouTube as a format. Potentially see if there are any other shows about technology in the Oslo area that I could join or tag along to.

I do this to learn however I would be very happy to hear from you how the journey has been for you so far and any improvements that you think I should be making.

Happy New Year in 2020!

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 210. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days. My current focus for 100 days 200–300 is national and international strategies for artificial intelligence.

AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.