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What Sci-Fi Futures Can (and Can’t) Teach Us About AI Policy, open­ing and clos­ing com­ments

AI Policy Futures is a research effort to explore the rela­tion­ship between sci­ence fic­tion around AI and the social imag­i­nar­ies of AI. What those social mea­sures can teach us about real tech­nol­o­gy pol­i­cy today. We seem to tell the same few sto­ries about AI, and they’re not very help­ful.

AI in Reality

When data sci­en­tists talk about bias, we talk about quan­tifi­able bias that is a result of let’s say incom­plete or incor­rect data. And data sci­en­tists love liv­ing in that world—it’s very com­fort­able. Why? Because once it’s quan­ti­fied if you can point out the error you just fix the error. What this does not ask is should you have built the facial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­o­gy in the first place?

The Sci-Fi Feedback Loop

We’re here because the imag­i­nary futures of sci­ence fic­tion impact our real future much more than we prob­a­bly real­ize. There is a pow­er­ful feed­back loop between sci-fi and real-world tech­ni­cal and tech pol­i­cy inno­va­tion and if we don’t stop and pay atten­tion to it, we can’t har­ness it to help cre­ate bet­ter fea­tures includ­ing bet­ter and more inclu­sive futures around AI.