As Artificial Intelligence Grows in Vermont, Task Force Mulls State Policies
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Posted by: Jeff Couture
For some, artificial intelligence may conjure sci-fi movie plots and fears of sentient robots challenging humanity. Not Bruce Duncan. The greatest threat to the future of AI, he believes, is ignorance.
Duncan discussed his concern as he sat only a few feet away from Bina48, a humanoid robot he helped create that can analyze and respond to hundreds of conversation starters. AI algorithms allow her to act, think and respond like a human.
While his project raises many questions about the future, Duncan is more concerned about how AI may be exploited for unjust purposes today. He’s concerned that if public officials are ignorant about the power the technology has, massive problems could arise.
Rep. Brian Cina, P-Burlington, shares those concerns. He led the creation of a task force that has been studying the growth of AI in Vermont since September 2018. The task force will release final report in January.
“Whether people like it or not, artificial intelligence is a quickly growing and changing technology. And it’s progressing at exponential rates,” Cina said last month. “Too often in human history we have failed to really look at the full scale of benefits and consequences of our choices … Now we have a chance to get ahead of the curve.”
While Terasem is exploring the potential possibilities of AI, other forms of the technology are being used every day in businesses throughout Vermont, from farming to marketing programs to transportation.