Former IBM researcher Dr. Michelle Zhou makes the case for a code-free future and how it can help bridge the “AI divide”.
Behind every smart machine or AI tool is some form of code, most likely built by very experienced engineers and developers, perhaps entire teams.
But as technology evolves, a certain balance takes place. While there are incredibly advanced and complex emerging technologies bursting onto the scene, there is also a movement to make technology simpler and more accessible.
It’s been called the low-code or no-code movement, which is “bringing AI to the masses” by allowing anyone to use a platform with a visual interface, often drag-and-drop, to deploy AI and machine learning models with little to no code.
A big proponent of no-code AI is computer scientist and former IBM researcher Dr. Michelle Zhou. “Software is eating the world and artificial intelligence is only speeding it up. That’s why the future of software is codeless and the next frontier is codeless AI,” she told SiliconRepublic .com.
Zhou is co-founder and CEO of Juji, an AI company specializing in creating cognitive conversational AI technologies that enable others to build chatbots without code.
Prior to starting Juji, Zhou led the Systems and User Experience research group at IBM Research. She was also the inventor of IBM Watson Personality Insights – a service that uses linguistic analysis to infer intrinsic personality characteristics from an individual’s digital communications – and led the research and development of at least a dozen products in its areas of expertise.
The AI Divide
Zhou believes no-code AI is the future, and mediums that require deep coding expertise and massive computing power will become obsolete.
She said that to build intelligent machines that can effectively help people, companies need a huge amount of resources, including many doctors with a deep understanding of AI, talented software engineers to build something thing, intensive computing power and large amounts of training data.
“Most organizations don’t really have that luxury. They don’t have a dedicated AI team. They don’t even have a dedicated IT team [and] they certainly don’t have the training data.
She said it would create a “huge AI gap” between organizations that can afford these resources and those that can’t.
To combat this, Zhou created Juji not only to build cognitive AI assistants, but also to create a design studio that allows people to design any custom AI assistant they want, without the need for code it from scratch. She compared it to PowerPoint for its drag-and-drop capabilities.
An example of how it could be used is for a human resources manager or recruiter. Without needing to know how to code, they can access Juji’s system to create a custom AI assistant that will interact with potential candidates.
‘Most organizations don’t have a dedicated AI team. They don’t even have a dedicated IT team’
– DR MICHELLE ZHOU
Zhou added that a key benefit of no-code AI is that it could change the relationship between machines and humans. Traditionally, developers have to write every line of code to instruct a machine to perform tasks, which means they are essentially “machine operators”.
“But once you don’t have code, especially reusable AI, the relationship shifts from machine operator to machine supervisor.”
While no-code AI simply means an easily designed interface for creating no-code software, reusable AI means that the individual components of each layer can be pre-trained or pre-built and then reused or easily customized to take into account supports different AI applications.
Zhou said she would like to see no-code AI encourage people to adopt new technologies, especially those from non-technical backgrounds.
“They have a wealth of knowledge in the field and if they can actually embrace AI to help their work, help their audience, I think that’s a wonderful world for both parties.”
With AI being so deeply ingrained in virtually every area of technology, Zhou was asked about her thoughts on ensuring AI remains ethical, especially when it comes to reusable AI which could be very attractive to cybercriminals. .
She started with the well-known adage so often used in the tech world: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
From his own perspective, Juji has what Zhou calls “guards” in his AI. Although chatbots are customizable, an AI-integrated watermark cannot be removed.
This watermark is there to detect if AI is being used to collect sensitive information such as social security numbers or bank details and alert the user. “It gives users at least a chance to really think about it.”
Zhou added that while AI can be an incredible tool, it is also a double-edged sword and finding the balance between helping and harming will be key for the future of the industry.
She said that although the Food and Drug Administration is responsible for approving drugs in the United States after rigorous testing, there is no equivalent for AI technology.
“I don’t know how it will turn out. Because of course, once you have that in place, it can also hamper the speed of development and the speed of innovation. So, on the other side of the fence, people might say how do we find the balance? »
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