AI safety: state of the field through quantitative lens

02/12/2020
by   Mislav Juric, et al.
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Last decade has seen major improvements in the performance of artificial intelligence which has driven wide-spread applications. Unforeseen effects of such mass-adoption has put the notion of AI safety into the public eye. AI safety is a relatively new field of research focused on techniques for building AI beneficial for humans. While there exist survey papers for the field of AI safety, there is a lack of a quantitative look at the research being conducted. The quantitative aspect gives a data-driven insight about the emerging trends, knowledge gaps and potential areas for future research. In this paper, bibliometric analysis of the literature finds significant increase in research activity since 2015. Also, the field is so new that most of the technical issues are open, including: explainability with its long-term utility, and value alignment which we have identified as the most important long-term research topic. Equally, there is a severe lack of research into concrete policies regarding AI. As we expect AI to be the one of the main driving forces of changes in society, AI safety is the field under which we need to decide the direction of humanity's future.

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