Andrew H Min
Quantum computers are super computers capable of solving extremely complex problems. Companies like IBM, Google, and Microsoft are leading this race, yet no one can agree on what is the best method of creating one. A normal computer would use bits, but quantum computers use qubits and can combine two-qubits to a two-qubit computer to exponentially increase the computer power. As complicating as it may sound, these qubits can affect the other without directly coming into contact and this allows for computers to make logical conclusions far ahead of any other computer. One of the biggest hurdles is stability. Qubits are extremely unstable and can be blocked by noise or other forms of energy. If we came to a time where we were able to stabilize qubits, and learn the optimal way to make a quantum computer, what do you think we as a human race should use it for first? What do you think is the most realistic? Quantum computers could help solve cryptography, design new materials, and even find new medicines and ways to help cure people of illnesses.
As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is growing in it’s capabilities, businesses are aiming to train it to benefit society as best as possible. With AI growing we must consider how it can impact other people’s lives not merely as a tool but as a phenomenon that will be converged into everyday life. To do so businesses have experimented by trying to teach AI core business values. These values include a sense of responsibility in work, respecting customers, fairness, and transparency.
Do you believe that AI is capable of learning such core ethical values? Where do you think the limits will be if there are any? With technology growing and AI being a part of that, is it appropriate to try to hone and teach it core values or do you think we should abandon such technology for whatever negative effects it may bring?
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In Japan there are approximately 5,000 nursing homes that are testing robots as caretakers. With Japan being the best in class in advanced robotics and having such a large population of elderly in need of caretakers, it seems to make sense how they would find themselves coming to this solution. But is it a realistic solution when we consider applying systems thinking? Japan itself may have a culture that is infatuated with robots but other countries may not be as willing to have their elderly family members go into a nursing home being watched by a robot.
This idea of even trusting robots differs greatly between international cultures. In Japan, they have a deep rooted historical culture of animism – the belief that every object has a spirit including man made objects. Yet in America, we have a culture that involves religions such as Christianity implying the taboo nature of praising inanimate objects – idolatry. We also have traditional stories of creation killing creator such as Frankenstein. This in itself creates a barrier to penetrate many international markets.
Focusing on Japan alone, the market is extremely small being that these robots are extremely expensive. Even nursing homes and hospitals will barely be able to afford these robots. However, some of these companies are receiving aid from health insurance firms to help cover some costs of their products. With these products helping caretakers bend and lift residents, creating alerts with sensors when a resident is in need of the lavatory or is about to fall off of a bed, the usefulness of this technology is undeniable. Perhaps Japan is onto something and is entering a blue ocean market where they will lead in medical assisting robotics. Do you think they will be able to find ways to cut the costs and make these robots more accessible and affordable? How do you foresee them overcoming cultural barriers to enter international markets?