As the influence of AI technology dominates 21st century western culture, it is unavoidably obvious that the rapid advances made, have the power to affect our lives in unimaginable ways.

 

What is meant by this?

AI technology is currently used for medical research, driverless vehicles and to ‘detect’ criminals, although there is evidence that there are often inaccuracies, to name a few.  However, now we know what they do, we surely want to discover how they do it.

How would you feel if AI technology was used to determine a life or death situation based on algorithm?  It seems to be a type of technological discrimination where AI can target a certain group of people who share characteristics both physical and behavioural. Surely, the whole point of using technology to make such important decisions is to eliminate possible human prejudice.

 

The Utilitarian concept of AI

A current report published by Consultancy PWC predict that AI will increase the global economy by £11.7tn by 2030. However, how can this benefit everyone if we do not truly understand how AI works?

What we do know is that AI is designed to imitate the human brain with thousands of interconnected processors that focus on data and spot patterns alongside AL (artificial learning) which enables the ‘memory’ function of the ‘brain’ to store and recollate data, as well as monitor patterns.

So, with the exciting progression of AI and AL, we must consider whether freedom for some is a small price to pay for the benefit of others.

Nevertheless, there are people who disagree with they way AI will/is being used. Head of policy and programme director at the Charities Aid Foundation, Rhodri Davies says that “If these systems are being used for things like voting or access to public services, which we’re starting to see, then that’s usually problematic.”

Despite this, there seems to be an overwhelming desire to increase the use of AI technology in public services, such as medical research as there is evidence that it will save lives. Programme director for AI at The Alan Turing Institute, Adrian Weller proposes that it is only important to discover how these systems work on ‘critical’ cases.

This controversial analysis, raises more questions instead of answers, due to ‘critical’ cases not having a definition associated to it. How do we decide what is a ‘critical’ case and who decides what is a critical case. These can be linked to the issues of algorithmic profiling and discrimination as mentioned earlier.

Additionally, with the current GDPR legislation, how can individuals know where or how their data is being stored or used if the creators themselves are unsure. This raises the issues concerning whether the use of AI is a complex mechanism used to monitor citizens and break the law at the same time.

 

Business benefits

Granting all this, it is indisputable that AI technology has largely benefited business big and small, concerned with marketing, analysts, social media and finance. The advancement in technology has made it possible to connect with individuals, keep up with current affairs and make financially beneficial deals. The ease of interconnecting with other via AI has led to the reduction of financial loss for business and well as being able to understand their customer; which in turn allows for proactive opportunities.