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We Need A Moon-Landing Scale Response To Solve Tech’s Crisis Of Legitimacy

22nd Jul, 2019

50 years ago, humans landed on the moon for the first time – showing what humanity was capable of. Nowadays, not a day passes by without news about yet another development in artificial intelligence enabling us to live longer, better and much more easily than we do now. With the support of AI machines, we can now detect cancer and Alzheimer’s much sooner, identify abnormalities in health scans and spot cyber threats before they materialise. All this is undoubtedly good and exciting.

“Scandals like the one involving Cambridge Analytica have given a glimpse into the power of data.”

However, it is fair to say that tech is going through a crisis of legitimacy. Many of us are realising that there is something inherently wrong when our personal data is broadcast with little accountability and transparency. Scandals like the one involving Cambridge Analytica have given a glimpse into the power of data, of predictive analytic software able to analyse us and use algorithms (similar to what gambling platforms use) to keep us addicted for as long as possible to social media platforms, so that our data can be exploited for the benefit of advertisers.

This crisis of legitimacy has long been in the making – and tools like the Data Protection Regulation have helped direct attention to how tech intersects with freedom, privacy, autonomy and politics.

Artificial Intelligence is part of all this and that is because algorithms need data to be trained. The availability of large data sets, collected from us when we get on public transport, shop, browse online or through our smart meters – is perhaps one of the reasons why AI (which is not new, at all, just think of Alan Turing) is back in fashion and progressing so rapidly.

This availability of ingredients means a lot of data can be ingested into algorithms for them to identify patterns and perform (at least for now) basic and repetitive tasks better and faster than we humans have managed so far. For example, in medicine, the potential of this is extraordinary as a doctor’s intellect and training can be augmented by a machine in detecting a disease.

“But a question does remain: what is human and ethical cannot be defined by the same chiefs who are running the digital show right now. Women must be at the heart of it, and this is why the future of AI is the future for feminism, too.”

To read the blog in full please visit the HuffPost website via the link below.