INTERVIEW: Rob High, Fellow, VP and CTO at IBM Watson (pictured), hit out at rival artificial intelligence (AI) offerings which may misuse data, while insisting some of the ethical concerns surrounding the technology will ease over time.
High, who is tasked with helping to drive IBM’s AI platform Watson, said the company was big on honouring the privacy of user data, explaining every institution’s usage of Watson is isolated from another.
This is a practice the company followed when working with institutions and customers, with the aim of “making sure that data remains private” he added.
While not naming names, High said there are solutions in the market “that are more focused on how the AI system collects data about the end users”, and is subsequently used for targeted marketing and similar functions.
“This is pushing the boundaries from where we really should be, so I’m a little bit critical of some of that stuff,” he said.
“At some point, we as a society should come back and demand control and better protection of our data, so I expect that over time it will work itself out.”
High also said it was important to create awareness that AI was more about “augmenting intelligence” and helping “humans do what they do better”, in a bid to curb concerns that the technology will be used to replace jobs.
“It’s like any type of new technology. There’s always going to be a period of time where we as a society don’t fully understand what it’s going to be about. It’s easy to imagine the worse case, so getting educated, creating an understanding and beginning to understand where the real issues are instead of the more hypothetical – that will take time.”
In an exclusive interview held at Mobile World Congress, High also discussed the challenges in setting standards for AI. Click here to watch.