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Title: The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and its Role in Society
Author: Microsoft Corporation
Number of Pages: (134 pages)
Publication date: Friday March 9, 2018
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Book Review

“AI will enable breakthrough advances in areas like healthcare, agriculture, education and transportation. It’s already happening in impressive ways. But as we’ve witnessed over the past 20 years, new technology also inevitably raises complex questions and broad societal concerns.” – Brad Smith and Harry Shum on The Future Computed.

“As we look to a future powered by a partnership between computers and humans, it’s important that we address these challenges head on. How do we ensure that AI is designed and used responsibly? How do we establish ethical principles to protect people? How should we govern its use? And how will AI impact employment and jobs?” – Brad Smith and Harry Shum on The Future Computed.

As Artificial Intelligence shows up in every aspect of our lives, Microsoft's top minds provide a guide discussing how we should prepare for the future. Whether you're a government leader crafting new laws, an entrepreneur looking to incorporate AI into your business, or a parent contemplating the future of education, this book explains the trends driving the AI revolution, identifies the complex ethics and workforce issues we all need to think about and suggests a path forward.

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The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and its role in society provides Microsoft’s perspective on where AI technology is going and the new societal issues it is raising – ensuring AI is designed and used responsibly, establishing ethical principles to protect people, and how AI will impact employment and jobs. The principles of fairness, reliability and safety, privacy and security, inclusiveness, transparency and accountability are critical to addressing the societal impacts of AI and building trust as AI becomes more and more a part of the products and services that people use at work and at home every day.

A central theme in The Future Computed is that for AI to deliver on its potential drive widespread economic and social progress, the technology needs to be human-centered – combining the capabilities of computers with human capabilities to enable people to achieve more. But a human-centered approach can only be realized if researchers, policymakers, and leaders from government, business and civil society come together to develop a shared ethical framework for AI. This in turn will help foster responsible development of AI systems that will engender trust. Because in an increasingly AI-driven world the question is not what computers can do, it is what computers should do.

The Future Computed also draws a few conclusions as we chart our path forward. First, the companies and countries that will fare best in the AI era will be those that embrace these changes rapidly and effectively. Second, while AI will help solve big societal problems, we must look to this future with a critical eye as there will be challenges as well as opportunities. Third, we need to act with a sense of shared responsibility because AI won’t be created by the tech sector alone. Finally, skilling-up for an AI-powered world involves more than science, technology, engineering and math. As computers behave more like humans, the social sciences and humanities will become grow in importance.

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