AI is killing choices and opportunities

The history of human use of technology has always been a history of co-evolution. Philosophers from Rousseau to Heidegger to Carl Schmitt argue that technology is not a neutral tool for achieving human goals. Innovation – from the most rudimentary to the most sophisticated – Change the shape of people Because we use these innovations to control the environment. Artificial intelligence is a new and powerful tool, which is also changing humanity.

Writing, and later the printing press made it possible to carefully record history and disseminate knowledge easily, but it Eliminate centuries-old oral storytelling traditions..Ubiquitous digital cameras and telephone cameras Changed the way people experience and recognize events..Widely available GPS systems mean that drivers rarely get lost, but they also rely on them. Atrophied their original ability to direct themselves..


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AI is no exception. The term AI raises concerns about killer robots, unemployment, or massive surveillance, but it also has deeper implications. How does this change the meaning of being human as AI increasingly shapes the human experience? At the heart of the problem is the ability of the person to make the choice, especially the judgment of moral significance.

Take over our lives?

AI is used for widespread and rapid expansion purposes.Used in Predict the TV shows and movies that individuals want to watch Based on past tastes Make a decision about who can borrow money Based on past performance and other proxies regarding repayment potential.It’s used to Detect fraudulent commerce And Identify malignant tumors..Used in hiring and dismissal decisions Large chain store And Public school district..And it’s used by law enforcement – ​​from Evaluate the possibility of recidivism,What Police assignment,What Face recognition of criminal suspects..

Many of these applications present relatively obvious risks.If the algorithms used for loan approval, facial recognition, and recruitment are trained with biased data, which builds a biased model, they are Tends to perpetuate existing prejudices and inequality..But researchers believe in cleanup data and more rigorous modeling Reduces algorithm bias and potentially eliminates it..that too Possibility of AI to make fairer and less biased forecasts Than what humans made.

If algorithmic bias is a technical issue that can be resolved, at least in theory, the question of how AI modifies the ability to define humans is more fundamental. We have been studying this question for several years as part of UMass Boston’s Artificial Intelligence and Experience project. Applied Ethics Center..

Lose the ability to choose

Aristotle claimed to be capable of making practical decisions Depends on making them on a regular basis – About habits and practices. We believe that the emergence of machines as acting judges in a variety of work environments is a potential threat to those who learn how to make effective decisions on their own.

At work, managers routinely decide who to hire or dismiss, which loan to approve, where to send police officers, and so on. These are areas where algorithmic prescribing has replaced human judgment, and therefore those who may have had the opportunity to develop practical judgment in these areas no longer do so.

Recommendation engines, an increasingly prevalent mediator in the consumption of people’s cultures, can help constrain choices and minimize serendipity. By presenting consumers with algorithmically selected choices about what to look for, read, stream, and then visit, businesses are replacing human preferences with machine preferences. In a sense, this is useful. After all, machines can explore a wider range of options than individuals are likely to have the time and energy to do on their own.

TV remote control with buttons labeled Netflix, Hulu, Disney +, Sling
Services that make recommendations based on taste, such as which movie to watch, reduce accidental discoveries.
Image: Associated Press Photo / Jenny Kane

But at the same time, this curation is optimized for what people are likely to like, based on what they liked in the past. We believe that people’s choices run the risk of being constrained by the past in new and unexpected ways. “Echo chamber” People are already watching on social media.

The emergence of powerful forecasting technology seems likely to affect the basic political system as well. For example, the idea of ​​human rights is based on the insight that human beings are dignified, unpredictable, agents of autonomy, and their freedom must be guaranteed by the state. Will government agencies continue to protect human rights in the same way if humanity, or at least its decisions, become more predictable?

Fully predictable

As a machine learning algorithm “Narrow” or “weak” AIAs you improve and train with a wider dataset, most of your daily life can become fully predictable. Predictions will get better and better, and ultimately the general experience will be more efficient and comfortable.

The algorithm can quickly (if you haven’t done so already) get better ideas about what you want to watch next and the job seekers you should hire. One day, humans may find a way for machines to make these decisions without some of the biases that humans usually show.

But as long as unpredictability is part of how people understand themselves and what people like about themselves, humanity is in the process of losing something important. As they become more and more predictable, more and more AI-mediated world creatures will become more and more like us.conversation

Nir Eisikovits, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of Applied Ethics Center, Massachusetts University Boston And Danfeldman, Senior Researcher, Applied Ethics Center, Massachusetts University Boston

This article will be republished from conversation Under a Creative Commons license.Read Original work..

AI is killing choices and opportunities

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