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"Artificial intelligence has the potential to improve our lives in a variety of ways"

Dr. Aya Sofer, director of IBM's research laboratory in Israel, was a guest at the high-tech Silicon Club managers' forum: "Besides the many advantages, there are of course also challenges that are not easy, such as a built-in bias in models or data, or the creation of fake news and its use to bias public opinion. To combat these, we must adopt ethical information standards for the use of artificial intelligence - and educate consumers to use it critically"

Dr. Aya Sofer, Director of the IBM Research Center in Israel at the Silicon Club meeting, Usafia, June 2023. Photo: Avi Blizovsky
Dr. Aya Sofer, Director of the IBM Research Center in Israel at the Silicon Club meeting, Usafia, June 2023. Photo: Avi Blizovsky

"Artificial intelligence has the potential to improve our lives in a variety of ways - starting with improving the efficiency of business processes, developing products and services, innovative medical treatments and drugs, improving complex transportation systems and also combating climate change," said Dr. Aya Sofer, IBM's Vice President for Artificial Intelligence Technologies and the director of the IBM research laboratory in Israel, who participated in the Silicon Club meeting held at the high-tech training center for the young people of the Druze community D-TECH, in Isfaia.

Dr. Sofer holds a doctorate in computer science from the University of Maryland in the United States and has been researching artificial intelligence for over 20 years. She has published many articles in leading scientific journals, and received many awards for her work in the field of artificial intelligence.

She joined LibM in 1999, and held a variety of positions in the company's research laboratories. In 2021, she was appointed director of Israel's research laboratory, which has activity sites in Haifa and Tel Aviv, as well as a center of excellence for cyber research in Be'er Sheva.

"IBM laboratories are among the leaders in the world in the field of artificial intelligence. We work on a wide variety of projects, including the development of new machine learning models and natural language models.

"Artificial intelligence is an extensive field of knowledge that is constantly changing, and it is very diverse - from models for natural language processing, through machine learning and computer vision for the worlds of robotics - and in all of them it can be used as a tool for making better and more informed human decisions.

"Besides the many advantages of artificial intelligence, there are also, of course, not easy challenges. One of the complex challenges that is much talked about today is a built-in bias that exists in the various models, or a bias that comes from the information used to train the models. When the model is intended, for example, to help streamline hiring processes, this bias can create discrimination against certain candidates.

"There are several ways to deal with these challenges of artificial intelligence, including the development of ethical standards for the development of the models, the use of reliable and diverse data, and also the development of 'safety measures' to prevent the misuse of artificial intelligence tools. It is also very important to educate the audience that uses artificial intelligence, in order to emphasize the fact that the insights of the models are only aids for decision-making and also that in this day and age, where artificial intelligence tools can create very convincing texts and images, independent criticism must be exercised and support sought for any information that helps us formulate Decisions - surely those with significant weight.

"Today there are also quite a few prophets of rage who talk about artificial intelligence systems that are getting out of control. I believe that the danger - if such a loaded term can be used - is mainly from the misuse or bad or malicious management of artificial intelligence tools, such as for example the biasing of public opinion through fake news. But if we know how to develop and implement safety measures and ethical standards for the use of artificial intelligence, it can be a powerful tool for the benefit of humanity," Sofer concluded.

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