AI has an impact on our daily lives. Therefore, we must talk to experts, programmers, and scientists about the vast potential of AI and ethical problems that arise with this technology. As an increasingly global society, we need to ask ourselves how to adjust, confront, and tackle technological challenges. It shouldn't be scientists and engineers telling us how to improve; we should be all deciding together. Next time you come in touch with an AI application, keep the following ten points in your mind.
Algorithms are Opinions Expressed in Code
Are you sure that you are being represented correctly? Where are the most influential companies on this planet, and who owns them? While there are great things about any society on this planet, most of the downsides outweigh the positives. In other words: Chances are that if you don't feel represented correctly, you probably aren't.
Social Norms, Values, and Tech Developments
All of this existed before any given technological breakthrough. Therefore, tech fixes for social problems are not merely about technology's impact on society but also about how social norms and values shaped what tools are imagined necessary in the first place. This is why I will highlight problems and alarming situations that will develop our world much faster than any future robot in the following sections.
Health Care, Medicine, and Personalized Medication
At first glance, personalized medication sounds like a significant advancement in medicine. Second, there are risks tied to this if you are not a white, middle-aged male. Most data are taken to make diagnoses come from the military, leading to severe misdiagnoses, especially for women and minorities.
Autonomous Driving, and Assisted Driving
The idea of autonomous driving is having a great ride while working off your email list, reading, or playing cards with your family while on the road for some family vacation. Imagine your self-driving car runs someone over. Are you the one who is responsible for the crash? The company that sold the car to you will probably not take the risk or the blame. There are many more legal obstacles to overcome in this area until those are not settled. I believe, as a consumer, try to get as far away from this technology as possible.
Media, Fake News, and Bots
While today's world, it is elementary to find many great sources and information; the challenge to weed out misinformation has become increasingly difficult and sometimes even impossible. With increasingly more information to process, shorter news cycles and short-lived news scandals, it is up to us to cut through the noise. How can we do that? How do we know whether a news source is legitimate or not? This becomes even harder when we look at the issue of deepfakes: Is what we see the truth?
Cobots, Robots, and Workplace
While manufacturing jobs have vanished over the last decades (old news, I know), the business has shifted, and new "workers" have been put in place: robots. While AI and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms have increasingly become more powerful, they will become more and more part of the workforce, completing dangerous and mundane tasks. This is not only bad but can also offer opportunities. People who can adapt to this change and train other skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving skills, can move forward. Here is an article that sheds light on how the world of manufacturing is evolving.
There is no point in wanting to stop this trend. The best way to put it is also a New York Times article's title: Don't Fight the Robots. Tax Them.
Behavioral Microtargeting and Personalized Marketing
It has never been easier to know everything about somebody. Today, thanks to our stupidness, data about us are everywhere. We have our profiles on social media, emails, credit card information (oh btw. it's still not illegal for your bank to sell your information to let's say Cambridge Analytica), and customer cards from IKEA. This is a B2C marketer's dream. And also, crooked politicians like to exploit us in this way.
Stay Curious, Ask Questions, and Try to Find Prove of Concept
Asking the right questions, getting interested, and using it is very important in the debate about using AI applications. What are the interests behind a particular application? Why do corporations try to attract as many consumers as possible to a specific product or service? How do they handle my data? What do I want to support, and how can I contribute within my possibilities to make everything fairer?
Especially today, civil society can no longer afford to exclude sections of the population from these discussions. As with every upheaval, it requires the courage to ask questions, the ability to answer these questions in a goal-oriented manner, and the mutual willingness to reach a compromise that will serve the future.