Interview: AI poker master says artificial intelligence makes humans better

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-14 18:20:51|Editor: Mengjie
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by Xinhua writers Ye Zaiqi, Wu Xiaoling

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Artificial intelligence (AI) will not pose a threat to human jobs; instead, it makes human beings better, said a developer of an AI robot that defeated some of the world's best poker players.

Tuomas Sandholm, who is also a professor of computer science with the U.S. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), said a lot of applications involving AI have close links with the life of ordinary people.

He made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of a session of the 2018 CONNECT conference here this weekend, a forum focused on academic exchanges on AI science between Chinese and U.S. enterprises, startups and young talents.

Although AI technology, widely used in business, cyber security and even medicine, is very hot at present, it still faces many challenges, some of them mature and some less mature, Sandholm noted.

"Clearly, the mature ones are what we see as machine learning, particularly deep learning that is very hot," he said.

"Strategic reasoning is in a quite different state. It's much more nascent and you don't see a lot of applications for that yet," he said, adding that it is much of a growth area, which will grow for many years.

Speaking of the balance between decision-making by AI and by human beings, Sandholm said humans believe in themselves very much.

He cited the example of Libratus, an AI computer program designed and created by himself and his team to play card game poker.

Libratus was built with more than 15 million core hours of computation and was empowered with an algorithm that computes the strategy by machine learning instead of a fixed built-in strategy of poker games.

Sandholm said that when he brought Libratus into a tournament against the world's top-class human poker players in January last year, an international team bet humans would win. Although human players have lost the game in a day or two, they still believe humans are better than AI.

Sandholm pointed out that AI has an extremely powerful strength, but the technology will not pose a threat to human beings in the long run.

"Obviously any technology can be used for good or bad," he said, "It really depends (on) how you use technology. Clearly, there are military uses. You can imagine that will be bad for mankind."

However, he referred to his laboratory as a positive example. "In my lab, we make a very big point about making the world a better place," he said.

He introduced that his team is running a national kidney exchange center for the united network for organ sharing in the United States, saying: "There was no kidney exchange on the national level until we did it."

"That saves a lot of lives. In supply chain, our technology has saved over 6 billion U.S. dollars in efficiency increases," Sandholm said.

He said AI technology will not increase unemployment for humans, adding that his kidney exchange center has not displaced any original jobs and has created many new ones.

"You do more operations and so you need more surgeons and more nurse teams. And more employment has been created from that and no employment has lost," he explained.

When asked about what profession will be most likely to survive in the future, Sandholm joked: "AI programers".

The CMU professor delivered a keynote speech on AI technology and future application at the eighth Intelligence System Summit & TEEC Cup Startup Contest of the 2018 CONNECT Conference, which is held annually at Silicon Valley in San Francisco on the U.S. west coast.