What is AI? AI - stands for “Artificial Intelligence” - can be described through simple technological lens as:
- a line of code or
- a automated tool for recognition of patterns and correlations or
- a computational system that is simply solving a certain task.
AI is code, or like salt- when added to a product, it transforms the product. But AI isn’t magic, and can’t do much without being given a task, a purpose, or being placed in society and in products. AI can help software and products accomplish different tasks, from scheduling a doctor’s appointment to recommending music on Spotify. AI is dependent on gallons of data, your data, my data, community data: date of birth, sexual and gender identity data, wedding pictures, political affiliation, identification number, health data, it does not matter → as long as there is a kind of data + human intention in building, designing and employing = AI will perform any task.
But we should question HOW we build and create equitable and responsible technology systems, with AI. Many of these tasks are extremely socially sensitive: court rulings, social sorting within the banking system, predictive policing, political micro-targeting, health diagnostics → AI is not a NEUTRAL agent.
From the moment of creation to employment, the entire lifespan of AI makes decisions that have direct consequences on our lives → court decisions, police fines, credits and housing, voting system, who you date, and what you stand for → your rights and liberties.
“One way to think of AI is as salt rather than its own food group. It’s less interesting to consider it on its own. But once you add salt to your food it can transform the meal.”
As Caroline highlighted, “AI is inside of all of these apps that touch consumers every day lives in a way that consumers are not necessarily aware of.”
And it is all around us. It is the backbone of nearly every internet interaction, it is in the public and private spaces, in the schools, hospitals, most probably at your work. The fact that is invisible, outside of our mental models, intangible makes AI even more pervasive. Still, when we talk about AI → we need to make sure to talk about CREATORS: companies, governments, universities, civil societies. The GOALS AND TASKS: recommenders, personalizers and the RISKS AND HARMS: discrimination, limitation of rights, interfernce with election process, inaccessible reddress mechanisms, information deserts and divides.
Let’s remember that the consequences of AI decisions on us, individuals need to be placed in a broader context as these decisions have a long lasting impact on our communities, societies, transforming the world we live in and even potentially, our futures.
“AI as set of ideological structures that we already have in the world and reproducing them in code and in some ways entrenching them that makes them in a way inescapable.”