Copps: Key Ingredient As A.I. Permeates Daily Life is Building Trust

The promise, and pitfalls, of artificial intelligence became more apparent in the last year, and for Dave Copps, founder of A.I. companies such as Brainspace and Hypergiant Sensory Sciences, the pace of adoption will only accelerate in 2019.

What can help to smooth the transition to our new machine learning-enabled future is an effort on the part of technologists to build trust between ourselves and these tools. One way to build that trust is efforts like Tim Berners-Lee’s “Contract for the Web,” he adds.

As part of Xconomy’s series of year-end posts, we asked Copps (pictured above) to reflect on the latest developments in the A.I. industry and how he sees things playing out in 2019. Here are some of the highlights of our e-mail exchange:

Xconomy: What trend or event defined your industry in 2018? What are the implications for 2019?

Dave Copps: Hypergiant Sensory Sciences is in the A.I. industry, and any way you slice it, A.I. had a coming out party in 2018. Technology and algorithms that have been theoretical in prior years went mainstream in 2018. I think 2019 will see an increase in the acceleration and adoption of A.I. as more and more industries will look to increase their levels of automation and augment the capabilities of their workers with A.I. I am especially interested in bringing A.I. into the physical world by teaching machines to see and sense the world more like we do.

X: What are the new technologies that make it harder for you to predict how well your startup (or your startup investment) might remain relevant, for a time long enough to succeed?

DC: I think the disruption going forward is all about increasing the levels of automation in our businesses. We are living in the age of abundance today, and the only way we can manage and thrive is by creating new strategies and technologies for automating automation. This will largely occur through our use of artificial intelligence and creating machines that can learn how to learn so we can elevate human productivity beyond many of the machine-like tasks being done today by people.

X: World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee has proposed the formulation of a “Contract for the Web” to mitigate the impacts of tech companies on individual privacy, national and regional strife, and other domains. He is asking companies and others to help write it, and pledge to honor it. If you were helping to write the “Contract for the Web,” what provisions or principles would you propose? Would your company honor these principles?

DC: This may be the greatest question of our age. How will we evolve what it means to be human as machines and Web services continue to take over many of the tasks being done today by us? We will have to experience together what I’m calling an evolution of trust. As we transfer more and more of what we do every day over to machines, we will have to establish a level of trust in A.I. and emerging technology that we don’t have today. Berners-Lee’s Contract for the Web addresses this.

It’s interesting—we are the first civilization that has ever had to contemplate co-evolving with machines and technology. So, in a way, we are living in this experiment now, and while we don’t have the level of trust that we need to go forward with this evolution, we will bridge to that trust by creating contracts like this.

It’s already happening today. We all use maps, Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and other narrow A.I.s in our everyday lives, and we trust them to do what they are tasked to do. As we become more and more comfortable with A.I.-led automation, we will evolve to trust A.I. The question is how far will we allow technology to penetrate our lives and our experience of our lives? I don’t know … let’s see what happens!

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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