What Happens When There Is Too Much Data? Q/A With Renowned AI Researcher, Expert, Maria Gini

Maria Gini is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. She studies decision making of autonomous agents for robot exploration, distributed methods for allocation of tasks, teamwork, and AI in healthcare. She is Editor in Chief of Robotics and Autonomous Systems, and is on the editorial board of numerous journals in Artificial Intelligence and robotics. She is a fellow of the Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, a Fellow of IEEE, a Distinguished Professor of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, and the winner of numerous awards.

I sat down with Professor Gini some time ago for an exclusive interview where I asked her thought provoking questions on the subject of AI. Today's question that I am releasing is:

When it comes to data, how will we support Artificial Intelligence, and with the advent of AI, do you think a data storage/power crisis is inevitable?

I’m not sure that AI is the issue here. I think that the reason for this mass of data comes from the millions of people around the world who generate huge amounts of data on their phones and computers. At some point, we will need tons of space to store all of this data. Most of this individual data is not very useful in the sense that we take many pictures and videos, most of which will never be seen again. But since technology allows easy storage of massive data sets, people end up recording many videos and images and so on. All of this individual data isn’t really relevant to AI for the most part, and I don’t exactly know

what the solution is going to be because we are going to be drowning in data–and we already are. Currently, people are talking about using DNA type structures to store data, and I’m sure there will be some new developments that will try to compress all of this data, but I cannot say with certainty right now what the solution is going to be. We never used to have all of this information available, and again, much of this data is not necessary useful. Back in the day, people used to take very few pictures, and these pictures were mostly of important moments. Perhaps there will be a way to decide which data is critical or not, because, of course, you don’t want to erase the past completely. I’m not sure if anybody is thinking about decay of data–the gradual fading of data. Maybe after a while images will have lower resolution until they eventually disappear, or something like that. But at the same time, when it comes to decay of data and figuring out which information is critical or not, if, for example, you go on your phone and try to retrieve a specific image and your computer deleted it because it decided it was irrelevant, you would get very upset.

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