Artificial Intelligence: What Is Good for the Geese May Not Be Good for Other Creatures, Especially Ganders

October 28, 2020

I read “The Artificial Intelligence Mafia.” The author is Professor Louis C H Fourie, a futurist affiliated with the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. The article provides a run down of the key players in artificial intelligence, citing the Amy Webb’s book The Big Nine. The article includes an interesting passage; to wit:

AI is not necessarily detrimental and has brought tremendous benefits to everyday life. But the G-MAFIA companies are profit-driven and need to satisfy their shareholders, while in China the BAT [Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent] companies must please the Chinese government. The problem is, however, that what is best for shareholders and the Chinese government, may not be in the best interest of humanity. Adversarial attacks, algorithmic discrimination and surveillance control will continue to harm unsuspecting users across the world. The social, economic and political divide continues to grow, while people have lost ownership of their personal data, their privacy, and their identities. Unless, of course, countries enforce certain AI frameworks, standards, and best practices to ensure that AI is used for the human good. AI practices should be transparent with standardized protocols, and citizens should have control over their data. If we do not fix the problems at the root, the consequences in the future can be disastrous.

The observation depends upon human actions, not just algorithms. Those actions are often more difficult to control than the workings of a numerical recipe.

Stephen E Arnold, October 28, 2020

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