So many previous awardees have spoken of the magic sauce of the Internet. The opposite of secret sauce, I guess, because they all use the word “open.” Open standards, open architecture, open source. They said this openness is what made the Internet the Internet. Which sounds mostly right, although not much like how we experience the Internet today.
I decided I wanted to do some accountability studies about algorithms in our lives. And it’s hard to study the newsfeed in a quantitative way, and I also wanted something with higher stakes. So I started with an algorithm that is used in the criminal justice system to predict whether a person is likely to commit a future crime.
The big concerns that I have about artificial intelligence are really not about the Singularity, which frankly computer scientists say is…if it’s possible at all it’s hundreds of years away. I’m actually much more interested in the effects that we are seeing of AI now.
One of the most important insights that I’ve gotten in working with biologists and ecologists is that today it’s actually not really known on a scientific basis how well different conservation interventions will work. And it’s because we just don’t have a lot of data.
During this year that I have been off I’ve been thinking about how to teach both people who are trained in technical parts of data science, and also policymakers, how we could have a common language. And then that way we could have these conversations so we could talk together.
Hacking science and space exploration isn’t just about getting excited and making things. But it’s about getting excited and making disruptively accessible things. Things that really disrupt the current state of science and a lot of the elitism around it, and truly make it accessible for everyone.