New generation Artificial Intelligence expert, X. Miscouridou, talks to CNA about AI and future

Artificial Intelligence is a sector that is rapidly evolving, can help improve many aspects of our lives and will have a dominant place in the society in the future, Xenia Miscouridou, one of the UKs new generation Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts has told CNA.

In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, the Cypriot PhD student in Statistical Machine Learning at the University of Oxford said that in order to avoid any negative impact, AI should be regulated.

She also referred to the need for women to enter this field and said that she will be working towards this goal.

Miscouridou, who was recently promoted by the Alan Turing Institute (the United Kingdoms national institute for data science and artificial intelligence) and the UK governments Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport, as one of the new generation experts in AI, spoke to CNA about future applications of AI and how they impact our daily lives.

Asked about her recent distinction in the UK , she explained that she currently has a research affiliation with the Alan Turing Institute in London and said that within the scope of communicating the research and advances in the field of Artificial Intelligence, she was recognised by the Alan Turing Institute as one of the new generation experts in AI.

“I was asked to discuss the different areas of applications of AI, the benefits of studying AI and the career opportunities following these quickly-developing areas. This type of recognition is very honorable for me and makes me particularly happy as it is an important scientific distinction”, she told CNA.

Regarding the future applications of AI and Data Science, she noted that those sectors have the potential to support and improve many areas of human life and activity and gave a series of examples.

One such area, she said, is the field of healthcare.

Miscouridou said that data science can support the analysis of data of huge dimensionality and complexity, providing practical information out of it. The machine, having faster and direct access to a large set of clinical data, can support the physicians work on diagnosis and decision making. In addition, intelligent machines are expected to be further developed for treatment purposes, rehabilitation or clinical support.

AI will also affect the sector of sustainability and sustainable development. She explained that apart from the direct changes that AI will make in the industrial sector, it can contribute in areas such as environmental problems, climate change, population growth and energy problems.

In the area of security and transport, one example of AI products that may eventually become part of our everyday lives, are drones.

She told CNA that drones are devices that can fly and carry objects very quickly, and therefore can improve delivery services and more importantly emergency delivery ( for medical products for example). Drones are also useful to the security sector, as for example they can be used for the inspection of geographical areas, where access is difficult or impossible otherwise.

Miscouridou said that the sector of Artificial Intelligence will give rise to new services. It is likely, she added, that in the coming years AI and robotics will be fully integrated into business activities, creating new products and services as well as new markets and customers.

Finally, a rather different field that has been influenced by AI, is Arts and Design. A new area has emerged in the intersection of AI and Arts that can be described as scientific art or artistic science and develops computational creativity. She told CNA that people who are involved in the sector have already seen examples of the interplay between Arts and AI.

“The artists can use AI in order to create beautiful novel works as they would do with any other means. AI can also be used in the development of human creativity and imagination. However, at the same time, the developers and researchers of the field make sure that the resulting products or works respect human uniqueness, dignity and cultural ethics”, she stressed.

In order to avoid any negative impact, AI should be accompanied by a regulatory framework. How urgent is that? CNA asked.

“It is very urgent since the sector is rapidly evolving, is ubiquitous in human activity and will definitely have a wider presence in our lives in the future”, she said.

Miscouridou noted that AI can be used to improve the quality of various aspects of our life, but it is essential that preparation precedes from both the world of science (sender) and the society (receiver).

“We must establish a legal framework to determine the relationship between humans and the machine, in order to define the presence and the limits of the machine in our lives. Technology is useful and necessary in our lives, as long as we make sure we make right use of it” she pointed out.

She said that it is very important to actively and immediately take action towards the preparation and awareness of the whole population for the technological nature of our future in order to ensure a peaceful coexistence of technology and humans.

Asked about womens role in AI, she said that unfortunately from her experience so far, she has noticed that the representation of women in AI although varying across different sub-areas, institutions, departments and countries, is generally low.

In this traditionally male-dominated sector, it is very important to increase the representation of women. Otherwise, if AI is developed by a non representative subset of the population there is the risk that the resulting products are inherently biased or unfair.

“Regarding the proportion of women in AI research and industry, I believe it must increase, having in mind though that such an effort should be done transparently, with objective criteria that aim in serving the social good” she said.

She told CNA that her personal aspiration is to actively tackle these issues. She is already taking action for this goal, through her active participation in organisations, conferences and councils that aim at promoting women in the field of ML both within and outside academia.

Miscouridou also referred to a recent initiative of some women in the sector, including herself, in forming a new group for the women in the field of statistics, data science and machine learning.

This group, she said, will be a professional network of women studying and working in the field of Artificial Intelligence, aiming to promote women, increase the communication of research between women, increase the technical confidence and help increase awareness of the achievements of women in Machine Learning.

“Some ways we are aiming to achieve these goals are through the organization of events, meetings, workshops, hackathons”, she concluded.

Source: Cyprus News Agency