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Artificial and Natural Intelligence: Where Interests Overlap

4 March 2020
Искусственный и естественный интеллект: на стыке интересов
The conference ‘Artificial and Natural Intelligence: Where Interests Overlap’ was held at the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation in Moscow as part of a series of scientific events dedicated to the 85th anniversary of the birth of Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Academician Yevgeny Velikhov. The conference was organized by the Content Foundation for the Development of Expert and Analytical Activities with the support of the Roscongress Foundation, the RAAS, and the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation.

The conference was attended by Chairman of the Presidium of the Russian Association for the Advancement of Science (RAAS), Honorary President of Kurchatov Institute, and RAS Academician Yevgeny Velikhov; Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Sinovation Ventures and President of Sinovation Ventures AI Institute Kai-fu Lee; Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) CEO Kirill Dmitriev; Dean of the Faculty of Psychology at Lomonosov Moscow State University, President of the Russian Academy of Education, President of the Russian Psychological Society, and Russian Academy of Education Academician Yury Zinchenko; Director of the Institute for the Advanced Study of the Brain at Lomonosov Moscow State University and RAS Academician Konstantin Anokhin; Director for the Distribution of Yandex Technologies Grigory Bakunov; and Director for Digital Transformation at Gazprom Neft PJSC Andrey Belevtsev, among others.

The first session of the business programme focused on risk and benefit management strategies associated with the escalation of intellectual potential. The panellists underscored the need for an interdisciplinary dialogue among specialists from all areas of expertise, in particular science and technology as well as the humanitarian and social sectors. Artificial intelligence technologies are undergoing exponential development all over the world and in Russia, in particular. Smart systems are being widely integrated into various businesses, thus freeing up the human cognitive resources spent on performing routine tasks so that they can be applied more creatively. However, while one part of society views intelligent systems as a progressive trend, the other part continues to regard the expansion of the ‘digital mind’ as an alarming factor that potentially threatens to infringe upon the rights, freedoms, and opportunities of members of society.

Dr. Lee noted that Artificial Intelligence technology can be applied to almost any industry: «Artificial Intelligence technology will significantly change many areas of our lives in the near future and one of the most important areas where we will see its application is healthcare. In just 15 years, AI will diagnose diseases much more effectively than humans. These systems will not only be able to take symptoms into account, but also consider thousands of other factors, including the patient’s DNA, residential geography, family history, and other individual characteristics. These systems will be able to assess the risks of the onset of a particular disease and prevent them in time. In pharmacology, AI will significantly accelerate the production of medicines and increase their availability».

During the session, the panellists discussed Russia’s contribution to the development of artificial intelligence technologies. «Russia has the potential to become a world leader in the development and application of Artificial Intelligence technology. Today, we can create a proper regulatory environment that is potentially one of the best in the world, and this is a key advantage for us. Using Artificial Intelligence in numerous industries could increase efficiency by 20–30 percent. We have an opportunity to become a leader, and we must grasp it», Dmitriev said.

In this era of technological breakthroughs, which offers both unconditional benefits as well as risks, the task of studying the human brain has transitioned from a quantitative to a qualitative plane. Accumulated knowledge needs to be consolidated into a fundamental ‘register’ as part of a unified centralized strategy used to study natural intelligence in order to develop a general theory of the brain and apply versions of this theory in studying its most important properties and functions. Participants in the session ‘The Human Brain: Solving the Mystery’ discussed whether artificial intelligence poses any threat to human intelligence and whether a digital mind has the potential to mimic its human counterpart.

The participants in a session devoted to the symbiosis of artificial and natural intelligence discussed the areas in which artificial intelligence will replace natural intelligence and in which areas natural intelligence will retain its position. «Artificial intelligence and machine-learning technologies are capable of providing people with assistance in many areas — data analysis, choosing optimal solutions, monitoring situations, and management. Today, we need to synchronize our steps and build a policy that harmonizes research programmes in the information technology and biomedicine sectors. We need to find a consensus and develop effective programmes for artificial and natural intelligence to interact with the aim of developing a comfortable and safe future for all people», Content Foundation Director Yelena Sokolova said.

Alexander Laryanovsky, Managing Partner and Director of Business Development at Skyeng School, spoke about the changes that can be expected in the educational sector due to the development of artificial intelligence technologies: «The combination of natural and artificial intelligence is already yielding results. Teachers are not displacing but are bolstering the establishment of artificial intelligence technologies, thus making it possible to analyse hundreds of parameters and maximize the effectiveness of lessons».

The Content Foundation for the Development of Expert and Analytical Activities was established by the Roscongress Foundation with the aim of laying the foundations for a healthy society and Russia’s sustainable social development. The Foundation organizes industry events, implements educational and awareness-raising programmes, and also provides expert and analytical support.