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article imageThe future of AI depends on who’s at the table

By Lisa Cumming     May 3, 2018 in Technology
A new report from Canada’s Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship about AI’s implications for policy makers found that, to be successful in implementing AI in government, a diversity in conversation must happen.
Conversations about AI aren’t just limited to government, or to Canada, countries all over the world are tossing their hats in the ring to figure out how to best, and most seamlessly integrate AI into the public realm.
The report, "The AI Shift: Implications for policymakers", outlines that there’s a need for what Brookfield calls ”deliberate conversation” and that it needs to happen “amongst policymakers, technologists, social scientists and broader communities that will be impacted by a shift toward a prediction-centred society.”
READ MORE: Artificial intelligence research is ramping up around the world
The institute also observed that a further exploration of what will happen when AI is used in government, and a closer look at the decision-making process behind such AI, is needed.
Deliberate conversation
Imogen Parker, the head of justice, rights and digital society for the Nuffield Foundation, a charitable trust that funds research and student programming in the UK, outlined in her piece for TechUK what is meant by “deliberate conversation.”
Parker writers that, as the UK has announced that they want to be a leading force in ethics for technology and data use, they need to have a “diversity of voices” looking into risks and potential outcomes of the use and employment of AI in the public sphere.
Brookfield has released a briefer on AI and the basic terminology associated, it includes a helpful section that explains the ethical implications.
“Due to the increasing reliance on and trust in automated systems in contexts that may require them to make moral decisions,” reads the document. “Users should consider whether the values embedded in the code reflect their own.”
Giving values
The idea of a value set in a machine not reflecting a person’s values — or reflecting, depending on who the person is — is a topic of ongoing discussion. At UC Berkeley, professor Anca Dragan is working on developing algorithms for human-robot interaction to ensure that conflicts between humans and robots are avoided by teaching robots to express their intentions and capabilities. Research like hers is crucial to the ongoing and ever-evolving field of AI because there have already been conflicts between humans and AI, like the self-driving car that killed a woman in Arizona.
Her other talk, “Cars that Coordinate with People” applies this to the field of self-driving cars and how it’s possible for self-driving cars to move away from treating people as obstacles.
The conversation around AI will determine the future we build with it. And if the report from Brookfield is correct, more deliberate discussion needs to happen — and soon.
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