GesellschaftSheila Beladinejad

Sheila Beladinejad

Principle Consultant O Canada Tech und Präsidentin Women in AI & Robotics

We need to consider both human intelligence and machine intelligence for an intelligent future. With machine intelligence, there are numerous AI ethical frameworks across different countries and regions. We need more than interdisciplinary collaboration; we need a global governance and policy framework that isn’t fragmented like it is today. It’s a challenge to align international policies and frameworks, and sometimes, it feels like we need AI itself to decipher AI regulations. But these are the steps we must take to ensure a future where machine intelligence complements human society, rather than divides it.
For technology to be beneficial, we must make more open source projects accessible, crowdsourcing feedback before launching them to the public. As AI is developed, more open source work and a feedback loop from humans can guide decision-making democratically. This would include feedback from a global perspective, taking into account different abilities, including those with disabilities. 
However, big tech companies are driving these discussions and influencing government decision-making because they want to make money. Civil societies should be more engaged in these processes. As a leader of a nonprofit organization, I push for civil society engagement and for the voices of those impacted by AI, who don’t have a financial stake, to be heard. We need to come together to align on what is good and what is bad. This is how we can ensure that having a say translates into democratic actions that benefit everyone.
My life as a computer scientist was largely spent in technical conferences and seminars, focusing on the ones and zeros, the very fabric of technology. Having lived in Seattle, a major technology hub, I was immersed in this world, engaging with fellow geeks. It was a realm where technical prowess was the main currency, and my education as a computer scientist was designed to think in binary terms. 
I’ve come to realize that what’s often missing in our technical discourse is the voice of the humanities—the ethicists, the philosophers, the artists. Their perspectives bring a richness that the field of technology alone cannot supply.  As technical experts, we haven’t traditionally been trained to consider the wider societal implications of our work. 
We need to focus on holistic connections, understanding the big picture, and how new technologies impact all societal levels. We must avoid creating a divide where innovation benefits only the ‚Global North,‘ leaving the ‚Global South‘ feeling like a resurgence of colonialism is upon them. 
In the AI industry, leaders from Meta, Stanford, and other prominent institutions are at the forefront, educating and shaping the field. But their absolute statements about AI, claiming what it must do or be, are alarming. How can anyone claim to know what’s in the best interests of everyone? 
We need to be open to hearing each other out, acknowledging our flaws as humans. We aim for machines to mimic us, but we’re not perfect, so how can we expect perfection from AI? We should be engaging with various perspectives in the design process, involving philosophers, artists, and other disciplines. By inviting them to our events and listening to their views, we learn and improve.
We must strive to improve lives and ensure our careers help others and future generations. In Germany, I see many isolated projects, but we lack goal orientation. I urge Germans to maintain their own values instead of copying Silicon Valley. There’s great talent and mindset here, which shouldn’t be overshadowed by Silicon Valley’s approach. Moreover, empowering the youth is crucial. They need to be more than just participants; they should lead. If we want an intelligent future, we need the youth in the driver’s seat, not on the back end.

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