Babbage: Fei-Fei Li on how to really think about the future of AI

A year ago, the public launch of ChatGPT took the world by storm and it was followed by many more generative artificial intelligence tools, all with remarkable, human-like abilities. Fears over the existential risks posed by AI have dominated the global conversation around the technology ever since.

Fei-Fei Li, a pioneer that helped lay the groundwork that underpins modern generative AI models, takes a more nuanced approach. She’s pushing for a human-centred way of dealing with AI—treating it as a tool to help enhance—and not replace—humanity, while focussing on the pressing challenges of disinformation, bias and job disruption.

Fei-Fei Li is the founding co-director of Stanford University’s Institute for Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence. Fei-Fei and her research group created ImageNet, a huge database of images that enabled computers scientists to build algorithms that were able to see and recognise objects in the real world. That endeavour also introduced the world to deep learning, a type of machine learning that is fundamental part of how large-language and image-creation models work.

Host: Alok Jha, The Economist’s science and technology editor. 

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