Humans and technological artifacts have always been entangled in a co-evolutional relationship, where the progress of the one fuels the progress of the other in a (positive or otherwise) continuous cycle. How far can and will this cycle go when our technological artifacts become increasingly autonomous? East Asia’s rapidly developing technology ecosystem offers some intriguing answers to this question. Distinct as they are, China, Japan, and South Korea are all racing towards the creation of a digitally-enabled society by welcoming robots into their lives and homes. Why is this happening? How does it affect an increasingly fragile co-evolutionary cycle?
Danit Gal is a project assistant professor at the Cyber Civilization Research Center at the Keio University Global Research Institute in Tokyo, Japan. She is interested in global strategic technology planning to maximize shared social benefit. Danit chairs the IEEE P7009 standard on the Fail-Safe Design of Autonomous and Semi-Autonomous Systems and sits on the executive committee of the IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. She is an affiliate at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University and associate fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge. Prior to joining Keio, Danit was a Yenching Scholar at Peking University and international strategic advisor to the iCenter at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Among her current projects is an ongoing study of the unanticipated consequences of conversational AI under the Association of Pacific Rim Universities – Google research project ‘AI for Everyone: Building Trust in and Benefiting from the Technology’.