We’re reaching a point in time where the warnings of a dystopia led by AI are starting to actually reflect the current times.
It’s no longer just the Luddites and sci-fi writers that are shouting these worries. The pioneers of AI are realizing that the gravity of this situation is setting in now.
Google’s pulled out of a Department of Defense contract and wrote a white paper asking the government to outline rules for the use of AI. Amazon has joined Microsoft in calling for regulation on facial recognition.
Even OpenAI, the Elon-Musk-backed AI company which was founded on the principles of open-sourcing their AI research, has pulled back one of their latest projects “Due to concerns about [it] being used to generate deceptive, biased, or abusive language at scale”.
As someone that religiously follows the progression and new use cases of AI, I’m generally a megaphone for all the technological possibilities. However, I know that no innovation is worth obliterating the foundation holding society together. It’s time for political interjection.
This is what caught my attention in technology:
IBM’s AI can win Jeopardy, but it can’t win a debate
Ever since artificial intelligence has entered mass culture, IBM and Google have been scheduling Man vs. AI exhibition matches, in various disciplines to test the progress of machines. IBM’s latest installment in the series places AI in a debate against man and it was actually a solid debate. Will an AI Debater change politics? How can lawyers adopt this technology? Will we use this tool to help us decide our life path?
The AI text generator that’s too dangerous to make public
In 2015, car-and-rocket man Elon Musk joined with influential startup backer Sam Altman to put artificial intelligence on a new, more open course. They co-founded a research institute called OpenAI to make new AI discoveries and give them away for the common good. Now, the institute’s researchers are sufficiently worried by something they built that they won’t release it to the public.
Reinventing the way we invent
The problem is that human researchers can explore only a tiny slice of what is possible. But traversing seemingly unlimited possibilities is what machine learning is good at. Trained on large databases of existing molecules and their properties, the programs can explore all possible related molecules. By speeding up this critical step, deep learning could offer far more opportunities for chemists to pursue, making drug discovery much quicker.
AI can’t smell but it’s still creating your next cologne
It’s said that our sense of smell is the strongest link to our memories, so much so that one whiff can transport us back to different periods of life. Symrise, one of the global leaders in flavor and fragrance production, teamed up with IBM to see if it was possible to use AI to create new fragrances that were pleasant and marketable. The result of their labor is an AI called Philyra and they’ve already created and sold two perfumes.
Pricing algorithms learn to collude and raise prices
If you shop on Amazon, an algorithm rather than a human probably set the price of the service or item you bought. Pricing algorithms have become ubiquitous in online retail as automated systems have grown increasingly affordable and easy to implement. But while companies like airlines and hotels have long used machines to set their prices, pricing systems have evolved.
Why Internet Users are Entitled to the Right To Be Forgotten
We haven’t even begun to see the true connectedness of the Internet. APIs are currently connecting anything to everything. In the future, this will have inconceivable and irreversible effects. Will a future iteration of the Constitution include the Right To Be Forgotten – a right that citizens can exercise to disconnect their profile from certain apps and have their data be permanently erased from the Internet?