Professor Zhong Bu (right), the head of Department of Interactive Media at HKBU's School of Communication, and other artificial-intelligence scholars pose for a photo at the Summit of Artificial Humans and Journal Announcement in Hong Kong on March 6, 2023. (RAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG – World-renowned artificial-intelligence scholars plus natural and social scientists say Hong Kong can develop into an AI research hub by embedding humanistic, natural and social science perspectives into studying and developing AI models.

They made their remarks at the Summit of Artificial Humans and Journal Announcement, hosted by the School of Communications of Hong Kong Baptist University on Monday — the first academic forum in Hong Kong focusing on the topic of AI-Human.

“We would like to build deep collaboration. We brought in top experts from six universities in Hong Kong and one expert from Canada to join us so that we can jointly tackle worldwide AI challenges here,” said Zhong Bu, the head of Department of Interactive Media at HKBU’s School of Communication.

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“We are sure the new academic journal, Computers in Human Behavior: Artificial Humans, will serve a wonderful new venue for AI research. This is just our champions springboard,” Zhong added, who is the senior editor of Computers in Human Behavoir.

Social scientists can contribute AI development by devoting more efforts to develop socially responsible AI to ensure AI benefits society.

Zhong Bu, School of Communication, HKBU

The Monday summit also served as the launch pad for the new scholarly journal, which is the second sister journal of Computers in Human Behavior — examining the psychological impact of computer use on individuals, groups and society from an interdisciplinary perspective.

As AI continues to evolve, the world is entering a new era in which artificial humans will play an even more-prominent and transformative role in society.

“Artificial humans, including chatbots, robots and AI generative content, have the potential to revolutionize various aspects of our lives, from work and education to healthcare and social interaction,” said Wang Yang, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s vice-president for institutional advancement.

Wang argued that society should fund ways to adapt to the new environment, harnessing these tools’ potential while addressing their limitations.

One notable example of AI is the impact of language models like ChatGPT, which has recently revolutionized the way we educate, work and live.

This screengrab taken on March 6, 2023 from the Hong Kong Baptist University's website shows the promotional webpage for the Summit of Artificial Humans and Journal Announcement. (PHOTO / HONG KONG BAPTIST UNIVERSITY WEBSITE)

HKUST Provost Guo Yike said ChatGPT “can stimulate critical thinking of students. In the future, examinations would not bother students to give answers but rather require students to give the best questions because answers come from the machine. That completely change the way we educate students. Students should debate and argue”.

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Because of the potential impact of AI, academics argue that scientists and engineers in developing AI technology should inject humanistic perspectives.

Martin Wong, dean of Faculty of Engineering at Chinese University of Hong Kong, said, “AI has a lot of social ethical concerns, and it also involves the copyright issue and privacy issue.”

Zhong said that despite recent advancements in AI technology, AI has not won the trust of people because of its image problem, and people perceive that the benefits of the technology would not be equal for all users.

“Social scientists can contribute AI development by devoting more efforts to develop socially responsible AI to ensure AI benefits society. More research will explore the issue of trust and ethics, like bias, fairness, accountability, and transparency, in the application of AI,” Zhong said.