Artificial intelligence dominates most webinars and sessions held in Lisbon (Al Jazeera)

With the launch of the first day of the Web Summit, which amounted to about 250 events, it became clear that artificial intelligence dominates most of its seminars and sessions, and it was clear that there are two camps in this field, there are those who defend it and are enthusiastic about it, and there are those who call for its organization and legalization.

The summit opened on Monday in the Portuguese capital Lisbon. Al Jazeera Net was able to attend and follow up some of its most prominent events and came out with the impressions that we provide in this report.

How do we organize artificial intelligence?

In a seminar entitled "How do we organize artificial intelligence?" Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at MIT, opposed the idea of regulating artificial intelligence, arguing that regulation stands in the way of innovation.

"Laws of course protect against harm and negative impacts, but they also stand in the way of innovation," he said at a morning webinar at the Web Summit. The expert was particularly critical of areas that have been defined as high-risk sectors of AI law, such as education.

According to him, this classification should apply more to areas such as the environment or human health. In other areas, regulations should remain comfortable.

McAfee believes that there are two groups on this matter: those who support more government regulation, and those who support "innovation without permission", arguing that he belongs directly to the latter camp, while noting that there are some irreconcilable differences between the two.

But he believes that the two teams agree that there is a lot at stake right now, because artificial intelligence is "radically changing our world" and according to McAfee, "innovating without permission" does not mean that there should be no regulation at all, as the most important thing is to know the context and make regulations in a timely and appropriate manner.

MIT principal investigator Andrew McAfee: Regulating AI through laws stands in the way of innovation (Flickr)

Is AI the real deal or just hype?

Meredith Whitaker, president of Signal (an encrypted messaging app) and an ethical researcher in the field of artificial intelligence, believes that the term artificial intelligence is not modern but dates back to 1956, and has been applied to a heterogeneous set of technology in many cases.

She said, in a seminar entitled "Is artificial intelligence the real deal or just noise?" , it's more marketing than technical, and I wondered: Why is this term back to the surface now?

She said that the administration of former President Bill Clinton in particular failed in the late nineties to regulate the business model and online surveillance that allows surveillance through advertising, so the companies that were able to adopt this model were able to establish themselves as dominant companies and became enjoying vast materials of computer data and huge networks with huge markets that enable them to constantly pull data from them and pay products and services based on them, and these are exactly the resources that were revealed in 2012 to be decisive in the revival of this artificial intelligence.

Meredith Whitaker, President of Signal: The term artificial intelligence is not new, but dates back to 1956 (Al Jazeera)

Whitaker, who served at Google for 13 years, added that artificial intelligence requires huge amounts of data, which in turn leads the cycle of generative artificial intelligence, which has become a concentrated force that has accumulated in the hands of a handful of companies through their monopoly of the surveillance business model.

On the other hand, the ethics researcher said that artificial intelligence does not replace workers as much as it provides employers "with an excuse for the deterioration of the working conditions of workers who run these artificial intelligence systems," noting that she does not view artificial intelligence as a magic technology that replaces workers.

Artificial Intelligence and Journalism

In another panel titled "Artificial Intelligence in Journalism: Prospects and Difficulties," featuring CNN's chief digital officer Ethan Stephanopoulos and Ed Fraser, managing editor of Channel Four in the UK, both believe that AI will not replace journalists, but will help them perform "usual" tasks, so that they have more time to do what they are good at: "reporting."

They also argue that among the things AI can contribute to is recording interviews, providing angles for an investigation or report, and creating graphs and other forms of visual support for information.

In this way, AI platforms such as ChatGPT will act as the "co-pilot" in gathering information, according to Stephanopoulos. Ed Fraser also noted that the technology could also help "research teams."

But the managing editor of Channel Four, on the other hand, warned that one area where artificial intelligence should not be relied on is to verify the facts, as in this area "we cannot get humans out of this equation."

Ethan Stephanopoulos is CNN's chief digital officer (centre) and Ed Fraser, managing editor of Channel Four UK (left) (Al Jazeera)

Truth in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Among the other seminars that Al Jazeera Net followed, one entitled "Truth in the Age of Artificial Intelligence... Can we fortify the media?" Manuela Kasper Claridge, editor-in-chief of the German website Deutsche Welle, spoke.

Claridge says that fortifying the truth is by training journalists and providing them with guidance, thus benefiting from artificial intelligence in a reasonable way that ensures that the truth reaches the public, pointing to the rapid development of artificial intelligence so that it is possible to produce a video of a person speaking more than one language, as if it were the truth.

She added that we must adapt to technology, keep pace with development and adopt new methods that it will bring in the future, but with a commitment to the facts, and this is through training and guidance, noting that it is not an individual work, but requires everyone's solidarity to achieve it.

Source : Al Jazeera