Google Unveils PAIR Initiative to Improve Relationship Between Humans and AI

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Google announced Monday a new initiative geared towards improving the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence (AI).

The project, called People + AI Research (PAIR), will see Google researchers analyze the way humans interact with AI and the pieces of software it powers. The team, to be led by Google Brain researchers and data visualization experts Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, will work to determine how best to utilize AI from the perspective of humans.

"PAIR is devoted to advancing the research and design of people-centric AI systems. We're interested in the full spectrum of human interaction with machine intelligence, from supporting engineers to understanding everyday experiences with AI," the website for the initiative says.

The thrust of PAIR is to have AI in a form that is more practicable to humans, or to make it “less disappointing or surprising,” as described by Wired.

An application of this idea would be the use of AI as an aid for professionals like musicians, farmers, doctors and engineers in their vocations. Google, however, did not go into detail on how it will go about putting this idea into practice.

The researchers also hope to help form impressions of artificial intelligence that will enable people to have realistic expectations of it.

“One of the research questions is how do you reset a user’s expectations on the fly when they’re interacting with a virtual assistant,”  Viégas said.

Viégas and Wattenberg, along with the 12 full-time members of the PAIR team at Google, will also be working with experts from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

PAIR, according to Google, will “ensure machine learning is inclusive, so everyone can benefit from breakthroughs in AI.” Nevertheless, as Fortune points out, there have been questions of whether tech giants like Google and Facebook are keeping AI knowledge to themselves after hiring many highly regarded researchers in different areas of AI such as deep learning.

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