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Could machine learning help us build world peace?

Tuomas Paasonen • Work culture engineer / Social responsibility

Professor Timo Honkela from Helsinki University has spent his life to study language and machine intelligence. He looks optimistically in to the future and believes that machine learning could help people communicate and understand each other better. This, in his opinion, could be used to build world peace.

World peace seems to be something of a myth for most of us who were born in the 1980’s. The previous generation has seen the peace movement that fought for idealism. Before we grew up, it had become somewhat a political minority that was regarded mostly as a joke.

”World peace cannot be reached” is the attitude that you mostly run into when talking about the subject.

And this is exactly why Honkela’s ideas are so important.

Honkela brings peace work to everyone. Peace Machine is something that wouldn’t just work where conflicts already exist. Instead, it’s an idea that integrates into everyday discussions and aids people to understand each other better.

As a message, that is very important: world peace is something that we can work on. You and me. Just regular people living far away from the hot conflicts of the world.

Peace Machine is still just a concept. Honkela doesn’t introduce any concrete applications of what it could be in practice. And that’s why Futurice and Chilicorn Fund have taken up the task to look for those applications.

During the spring 2018 we aim to answer two questions. What can we do with current day technologies to analyze human communication? And because we know that machine intelligence is developing fast, what could the future applications be?

We document our learnings as we go in www.understandingpeace.net. Already, you can find more about Honkela’s Peace Machine, peace tech in general and even a practical example of what the technologies behind Peace Machine could achieve today.

On that site you can also sign up for one of our workshops where we discuss different aspects of machine intelligence, peace and human-machine co-operation.

Hope to meet many of you in upcoming months!

Cover photo by Eddie Kopp on Unsplash