At the last meeting of the Science Discussion Group, the members were trying to self-educate on the topical subject of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This was a tall order for most of the group, who took Physics A level before man walked on the moon.
The first stumbling block was to find a working definition of what exactly Artificial Intelligence is. Several false starts before they found the answer from that ever useful tool You Tube, titled: “What is AI for people in a hurry?” by Raj Ramesh.
To view this You Tube video click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ePf9rue1Ao
In 5 minutes time you too will feel empowered to answer this question, and see that, like a fly’s compound eye, AI has many facets.
Most important after viewing, are the ethical questions that will begin to spring into your mind. AI can be a force for benefit or great ill. Consider – “Big Data” the ability to collect, store and process vast amounts of data. This can be of great use in medicine in the aetiology, diagnosis and prevention of disease. Alternatively it can bring an Orwellian chill when used for the complete control of whole populations. Robotics when used to clear land mines, or increase the numbers of cataract operations are a blessing, but how does the out-of-work car worker feel about them? How do women or people of colour feel about algorithms written with an inherent sexual or racial bias?
The reader will no doubt think of many more examples. With the benefit of hindsight of course, man would have built safeguards into the AI systems as they were being developed. Belatedly the tech giants are beginning to do just that with the projects on the drawing board now. But we all need to become more aware of these big issues and work to establish the common principles of control that could be adopted across the globe.