Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to transform the way science and engineering is conducted and funded in Canada, bringing huge opportunities and risks, according to a new report from the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) panel of experts. . AI has the potential to spur innovation and further scientific understanding beyond the limits of human capabilities, but it could also deepen existing inequalities, perpetuate human prejudices, and even create new ones.
“The cross-cutting nature of AI means that no field will remain untouched by this technology,” said Teresa Scassa, SJD, chair of the expert group. “To maximize its benefits, it will be critical that the social and ethical implications of AI are addressed early in development, right through to application, and with greater collaboration between researchers across disciplines and sectors.”
Canada could also risk losing its competitive advantage in AI unless it takes decisive steps to go beyond its existing strengths. To date, AI growth has focused heavily on research and talent, but there is an urgent need to better integrate knowledge and skills across multiple disciplines for responsible development and use of technology in a broader way.
Artificial intelligence is already used for a number of activities in science and engineering, such as data analysis and interpretation. In the near future, AI is expected to develop new scientific hypotheses and experiments and create new engineering design processes, with minimal human involvement. This rapid pace of technological development has created various legal and regulatory obstacles, including issues related to data governance, intellectual property and managing acceptable levels of risk to society.
“Artificial intelligence can lead to significant advances in science and engineering, but not without recognizing potential pitfalls,” said Eric M. Meslin, Ph.D., FRSC, FCAHS, President and CEO of the CCA. “Realizing the promise and potential benefits of AI will require addressing possible biases, by the people who build it, by the institutions and governments whose policies they intend to regulate, and by the organizations that use it.”
The National Research Council of Canada has asked the ACC to examine the legal, regulatory, ethical, social and political challenges associated with implementing artificial intelligence technologies to enable the design and discovery of scientific and engineering research.
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Report: www.cca-reports.ca/reports/ai-… nce-and-engineering /
Provided by the Council of Canadian Academies
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