AI progress is advancing at an ever increasing pace. Would you trust Siri to organise your next family trip? How about allowing Siri to cast your ballot in the next election? The more data we feed into the personalisation algorithms that surround us, the better the decisions they make on our behalf. Alphabet’s Chairman Eric Schmidt is convinced that advances in AI will make each and every human being in the world smarter, more capable and more accomplished. There is hope that AI can help society solve some of its toughest challenges, including climate change, population growth and human development.
Yet the pace of AI progress brings challenges we must confront. Bias in algorithms can amplify our own biases and deepen social divisions. What is more, AI applications use data from our past actions to anticipate our needs in the future. This is problematic, because it tends to reproduce established patterns of behaviour, providing old answers to new questions. This form of algorithmic determinism is dangerous, because it precludes our need for experimentation and exploration, while ignoring the multiplicity of our identity.