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Apple AI expert, Tom Gruber explains Siri’s ‘humanistic AI’ at TED

Apple’s AI expert, Tom Gruber, delivered a TED talk back in April extolling the benefits that AI may provide for us in the years to come. The video of the onstage presentation has now been released and gives us a better glimpse into the future Gruber imagines. His presentation focuses on what he calls “humanistic AI”, the belief that when machines get smarter, so will we.

Gruber explains that “the purpose of AI is to empower humans with machine intelligence” and that the two can work together effectively. In his talk, he goes through various examples of how AI can be used to improve upon normal human functions and interactions. Starting with Siri, Gruber explains that the virtual assistant was designed as humanistic AI. The assistant may not be world-changing for some users, but for others it quite literally is.

To augment people with a conversational interface that made it possible for them to use mobile computing regardless of who they were and their abilities.

…for my friend Daniel, the impact of the AI in these systems is a lifechanger. You see Daniel is a really social guy and he’s blind and quadriplegic which makes it hard to use those devices that we all take for granted.

Daniel uses Siri to manage his own social life, his email, text, and phone, without depending on his caregivers. Here’s a man whose relationship with AI helps him have relationships with genuine human beings.

Through the rest of his onstage conversation, Gruber continues with more examples of the benefits of human and machine intelligence collaborations. Showing improvements in cancer detection, engineering, and even human memory. Gruber believes that AI will benefit all of us in some manner.

He is clear to point out that the usage of AI to improve human memory must be kept private and secure. “In my view, a personal memory is a private memory,” he shares. “We get to choose what is and is not recalled and retained. It’s absolutely essential that this be kept very secure.”

Watch Tom Gruber’s entire on stage TED presentation below.

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