AI should complement humans at work, not replace them, TIME panelists say

Cynthia Breazeal, dean for digital learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) affiliate, speaks at the TIME 100 Talks, in a panel on the ethical considerations of artificial intelligence (AI), saying, “Humans right now are just way better than any AI system on the social and emotional [level],” adding that AI in the workplace should complement, rather than replace, humans.


Artificial intelligence is widely expected to transform our lives. Leaders from across the sector gathered for a TIME dinner conversation on Nov. 30, where they emphasized the need to center humans in decisions around incorporating the technology into workflows and advocated for governments and industry leaders to take a responsible approach to managing the risks the technology poses.

As part of the TIME100 Talks series in San Francisco, senior correspondent Alice Park spoke with panelists Cynthia Breazeal, a pioneer in social robotics and the Dean for Digital Learning at MIT, James Landay, a computer science professor and vice director of the Institute for Human-Centered AI at Stanford University, and Raquel Urtasun, CEO and founder of self-driving tech startup Waabi, which recently put a fleet of trucks into service on Uber Freight’s trucking network. The panelists discussed the ethical considerations of AI and the ways in which leaders can ensure its benefits reach every corner of the world.

During the discussion, the three panelists highlighted the transformative journey of AI and delved into its profound implications, emphasizing the need for responsible AI deployment. Landay reflected on the pivotal moment nearly a decade ago when neural networks started to make significant strides. He said the AI boom occurred when these neural networks transitioned from theoretical promises to practical applications, infiltrating products like smartphones and revolutionizing speech recognition. “We started to see that this was going to affect every company everywhere in our lives,” Landay said of AI. “That this technology was going to have a profound impact, both on the positive but potentially on the negative.”


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