A professor explains how AI jeopardizes democracy

Feb 28, 2019, 7:21 AM EST
(Source: Cristian Iohan Ştefănescu/flickr)
(Source: Cristian Iohan Ştefănescu/flickr)

Arguably, algorithms are taking over systems and calling the shots in invariably every field from fashion to criminal justice system. While the implicit bias of human’s permeating into AI algorithms has been the center of debate, we could be missing a bigger picture – how AI jeopardizes our democracy.

Futurist, NYU professor and award-winning author, Amy Webb, sounds alarm over a dangerous convergence of technological, political and economic trends in her new book “The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity,” writes MIT Technology.

She elucidates that a big chunk of funding for AI research in the U.S. comes from private sector, which in its rush to oblige the investors focuses more on short-term demands, thus lacking a foresight and thoughtful planning for AI.

Thousands of small incremental advancements in AI, in a way forced by a capitalist market for quick returns, do not appear as threatening in isolation, but when viewed in totality, emerge as a force running automated systems that could be soon making our choices.

At the same time, the tech giants in China are aligning their AI services to the regime’s authoritarian character. For example, the Belt and Road Initiative by China not only involves infrastructural expansion but digital coverage abroad for mining and refining data, which could eventually be exploited to subdue freedom of speech and democratic principles.