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.
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You may have heard people come up to you and say like, “Hey, you’re young. That makes you a digital native.” Something about being born after the millennium or born after 1995 or whatever, that makes you sort of mystically tuned in to what the Internet is for, and anything that you do on the Internet must be what the Internet is actually for. And I’m here to tell you that you’re not a digital native. That you’re just someone who uses computers, and you’re no better and no worse than the rest of us at using computers.
This is a moment to ask as we make the planet digital, as we totally envelop ourselves in the computing environment that we’ve been building for the last hundred years, what kind of digital planet do we want? Because we are at a point where there is no turning back, and getting to ethical decisions, values decisions, decisions about democracy, is not something we have talked about enough nor in a way that has had impact.
I’m Elizabeth Feinler, usually known as “Jake.” That’s my nickname. And I ran the contract for the Network Information Center on both the ARPANET and the Defense Data Network back in the 70s and 80s.
What does it mean for human rights protection that we have large corporate interests—the Googles, the Facebooks of our time—that control and govern a large part of the online infrastructure?
Are there any limits to the connected workplace? Are there any concerns about the connected workplace? Is there any way in which you wouldn’t want either yourself or an employee to be connected? Are there any limits to the kinds of information we can gather in order to make our workforces more productive? In order to make our overall society more productive?
The Tyranny of Algorithms is obviously a polemical title to start a conversation around computation and culture. But I think that it helps us get into the cultural, the political, the legal, the ethical dimensions of code. Because we so often think of code, and code is so often constructed, in a purely technical framework, by people who see themselves as solving technical problems.