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NUS Launches Manifesto on Building Human-centred Digital Society

The Centre on AI Technology for Humankind (AiTH) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School has rolled out recommendations on how society and organisations should approach Artificial Intelligence (AI) in ways that truly promote human interests and well-being.

The manifesto “The Road to a Human-Centred Digital Society: Opportunities, Challenges and Responsibilities for Humans in the Age of Machines” advocates an approach that empowers human experiences of competence, belonging, control and well-being. It offers seven high-level recommendations that can guide businesses and policymakers in their pursuit of a Human-centered approach to AI (HCAI).

Most of us interact with AI systems on a daily basis, even if we do not realise it. Many of these systems are focused on promoting human performance with the narrowly defined goal to increase efficiency, and hence productivity. But to make our tech efforts sustainable and build a truly humane and creative society, we need to focus on developing tech that optimises and enriches a variety of experiences that make us uniquely human. Our recommendations guide both individuals and organisations in their AI approach.

– Professor David De Cremer, Founding Director of AiTH

One recommendation is that digital transformation and the adoption of intelligent technologies should be a collaborative effort driven by unique human values, not just by profit. The value companies and society want to create for end-users should serve as the basis for any kind of AI adoption and provide a lens for evaluating the appropriateness and necessity of technological interventions.

Making technologies available is a judgment call is one that humans, are responsible for. AiTH makes the argument about the need for better education for leaders and decision-makers in better ways so that they are equipped with the necessary soft skills to understand what building a human-centred society truly means.

For organisations that are embarking on their AI journey, AI deployments used solely for cost-cutting purposes will not only fail to reveal immediate returns but will also prove to be unsustainable. Instead, cost-cutting efforts need to be accompanied by equal investments in “human upskilling” – to ensure that the abilities, actions and interests of humans are further cultivated with the support and assistance of technology.

When companies integrate AI tools with the human workforce, it is important not to treat human and machine intelligence as equivalent or interchangeable. The future of work will have to be a collaborative one: where AI systems are deployed in ways that respect and connect with the skills and abilities that make us uniquely human – such as creativity, autonomy, and social belonging. Researchers should be advancing and developing machines to serve humans in their full existence, rather than preparing humans to adapt and serve the logic of machines.

OpenGov Asia reported Singapore’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) research is intended at accelerating the country’s transformation into a Smart Nation. AI has been used effectively in Singapore to either supplement human intellect or develop automated methods and systems to improve people’s quality of life.

Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) recently announced their collaboration to address this topic at the Singapore Defence Technology Summit 2021.

The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) conducts basic research in all areas of computer science and artificial intelligence. CSAIL is dedicated to pioneering new theoretical approaches as well as the development of applications with broad societal impact.

“In the global emerging technologies field, artificial intelligence (AI) research has been a particularly exciting space on the cusp of game-changing findings and applications. Collaborations with leading research institutions such as MIT ensure that DSTA is primed to translate such innovations into capabilities for defence and beyond,” said the DSTA Deputy Chief Executive for Information.

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