IS AI DRIVING US, OR ARE WE DRIVING IT?

American industry, being in the midst of another revolution, it is taking us to a place where we would no longer be the one to take our own decisions. Even the decisions of from when you should go in for a coronary bypass, and to where your car should take a left turn. The good news is, they will be guided by artificial intelligence because AI  is the great promise holder for improving the health and welfare of much of the planet. But we must ensure the application of the outcomes of the AI algorithms must be fair and ethical for society to take full advantage of the power of it.

 

To this date, the enthusiasm to adopt the technology has been lagging far behind the efforts to cultivate algorithmic fairness. The industry has shown little inclination to shoulder this responsibility, with its drive for competitive advantage and focus on profits. An ethical and a fair AI-powered world will only be achieved through higher education.

 

At many tech companies, the threat of the potential for unethical use of AI is the elephant in the room, and employee unease has prompted the hiring of ethics officers and review boards.  Though the step is in a positive direction, it is not enough to overcome the challenge we are facing.

 

The problem being bilateral, the AI can be used in ethical and unbiased ways. Also, there are the underpinnings of the technology itself. Though the machines are fast learners, they can still be manipulated as the data they learn from are often a compilation of human decisions. If those decisions are freighted with bias, and it is obvious they are sometimes, AI can make itself into a biased system, creating a system that is perpetually unfair.