Luc Steels, Icrea Research Professor at the Institute for Evolutionary Biology

Luc Steels, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Humane AI or Human-Centered AI has many meanings for many people, and it’s a bit unclear at the moment. For me it means that we kind of gain back the let’s say emphasis on mechanisation and on basically treating people like machines. For me Human-Centered AI has to do with meaning and values in our society but also on how we treat other people. I have been very disturbed by the use of AI for manipulation, getting their data and using AI in places where in my opinion it shouldn’t be used. With this project I hope that we can correct this deviation towards using AI to dominate people and to manipulate them, rather than help them, which was the original goal of the development of AI.

My blue sky project would be to bring together the people in Europe who work in arts, design and architecture who actually have a tradition of building human centred technologies or objects. If you look at Italian design of a lamp for example, it looks very simple but actually they put a lot of thought in that and thought about the human use of it and the context of it. I think we need to radically change how we are dealing with AI. I think we can do fantastic things with AI but we have to merge this kind of way of looking at things, the artistic way I would say. To bring that together with the power of technology. At the moment technology is completely in the hands of people that are mostly interested in money and manipulation. We have to change that so that we can benefit from it.