By William Crooks
Local Journalism Initiative
Editor’s note: This article is a continuation of a series on artificial intelligence (AI). The Record initially spoke with Dr. Stefan Bruda, Bishop’s professor of computer science, who explained that AIs are machine learning programs that mechanically produce the same results as rational agents (human beings).
AI is a tool with potential colossal future benefits, Reena Atanasiadis, dean of Bishop’s University’s Williams School of Business, insists. The Record spoke with her over the phone to get her views on AI’s role in various areas of human endeavour.
AI and medicine
In the medical industry, we know that AI can detect slight aberrations in x-rays that the human eye cannot, Atanasiadis said, and is therefore able to better detect, for instance, breast cancer.
We’ve had “expert systems” for a while, she said, but now they can “dialogue” and produce better “data-driven conclusions.”
Atanasiadis sees the future possibility of the public using AIs to self-diagnose, which could be beneficial or dangerous. Even better, she stated, doctors could use it to diagnose rare diseases that have symptoms in common with more typical diseases; the AI would help eliminate the doctors’ confirmation bias to produce better results and diminish mistakes.
Analogies with other technological advances
“Microsoft [a popular tech company] cut a cheque for $10 million to ChatGPT,” she continued, which is a leading new AI program. This is because Microsoft wishes to add an AI tool into its suite of products, she said.
When spell-checking technology was released, many argued against its use because having correct spelling was part of how students were assessed, Atanasiadis said. We came to realize that what students were saying was more important than their ability to spell if that was perfected by technological innovation.