Each week on a Wednesday Nikolas Badminton, Futurist highlights the top stories from the past week relating to the incredible rise of artificial intelligence and its application in society, the workplace, in cities, and in our lives.
In Artificial Intelligence Bulletin – AI Will Put You in Prison we look at how algorithms can be used for incarceration, teaching cars to drive, the reality behind the Luddite’s cause, democratizing AI, and putting 10,000 people to work.
Sent to Prison by a Software Program’s Secret Algorithms
When Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. visited Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute last month, he was asked a startling question, one with overtones of science fiction.
“Can you foresee a day,” asked Shirley Ann Jackson, president of the college in upstate New York, “when smart machines, driven with artificial intelligences, will assist with courtroom fact-finding or, more controversially even, judicial decision-making?”
The chief justice’s answer was more surprising than the question. “It’s a day that’s here,” he said, “and it’s putting a significant strain on how the judiciary goes about doing things.”
He may have been thinking about the case of a Wisconsin man, Eric L. Loomis, who was sentenced to six years in prison based in part on a private company’s proprietary software. Mr. Loomis says his right to due process was violated by a judge’s consideration of a report generated by the software’s secret algorithm, one Mr. Loomis was unable to inspect or challenge.
Read more at New York Times
Open Source Stories: Road to AI
How do you teach a car to drive? For many self-driving car makers and artificial intelligence researchers, the answer starts with data and sharing.
Luddites have been getting a bad rap for 200 years. But, turns out, they were right
Things did not end well for the Luddites. The group of weavers and textile artisans in early 1800s were crushed by the British government after resisting the destruction of their livelihoods by industrialization. History, in one of its callous twists, recast their story from a workers’ revolt for fair treatment to a short-sighted war against technology and progress.
The truth is that the Luddites were the skilled, middle-class workers of their time. After centuries on more-or-less good terms with merchants who sold their goods, their lives were upended by machines replacing them with low-skilled, low-wage laborers in dismal factories. To ease the transition, the Luddites sought to negotiate conditions similar to those underlying capitalist democracies today: taxes to fund workers’ pensions, a minimum wage, and adherence to minimum labor standards.
Those bargaining attempts were rebuffed by most factory owners. The Luddites then began months of “machine breaking” in 1811-1812, smashing the weaving frames, in a last ditch effort to bring their new bosses to the table. At the behest of factory owners, the British Parliament declared machine breaking a capital offense and sent 14,000 troops to the English countryside to put down the uprising. Dozens of Luddites were executed or exiled to Australia. The crushed rebellion cleared the way for horrific working conditions of the Industrial Revolution yet to come.
Read more at Quartz
Democratizing Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is the next technological frontier, and it has the potential to make or break the world order. The AI revolution could pull the “bottom billion” out of poverty and transform dysfunctional institutions, or it could entrench injustice and increase inequality. The outcome will depend on how we manage the coming changes.
Unfortunately, when it comes to managing technological revolutions, humanity has a rather poor track record. Consider the Internet, which has had an enormous impact on societies worldwide, changing how we communicate, work, and occupy ourselves. And it has disrupted some economic sectors, forced changes to long-established business models, and created a few entirely new industries.
But the Internet has not brought the kind of comprehensive transformation that many anticipated. It certainly didn’t resolve the big problems, such as eradicating poverty or enabling us to reach Mars. As PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel once noted: “We wanted flying cars; instead, we got 140 characters.”
In fact, in some ways, the Internet has exacerbated our problems. While it has created opportunities for ordinary people, it has created even more opportunities for the wealthiest and most powerful. A recent study by researchers at the LSE reveals that the Internet has increased inequality, with educated, high-income people deriving the greatest benefits online and multinational corporations able to grow massively – while evading accountability.
Read more at Project Syndicate
Automation Jobs Will Put 10,000 Humans to Work, Study Says
It’s going to take a lot of humans to create the kind of artificial intelligence that could replace truckers, financial analysts, and customer service representatives with robots. U.S. employers will spend more than $650 million on annual salaries for 10,000 jobs in AI this year, according to a study from career and hiring data firm Paysa.
The 2-year-old firm touts itself as the only platform to use AI to deliver personalized job and salary recommendations. It was founded by Chris Bolte, Zachary Poley, Nikhil Raj and Patrick Harrington — all formerly of Walmart Labs and Walmart’s engineering and product teams.
The firm uses millions of data points like job openings, resumes, and compensation to determine the market value of individual skills. Once a worker creates a profile on the site, they can look at how their salary compares to others with the same job title and experience.
Read more at FORTUNE