The rush to implement AI too widely and simplistically could have disastrous consequences

A conversation with Marco Manca

@markomanka is an interdisciplinary researcher in mathematics and informational systems with an educational background in medicine. He founded the SCimPulse Foundation, which he still directs, and is also part of several scientific organisations and commissions, including the working group of NATO for human control over autonomous systems.

Marko feels there is a lot of excitement about AI and a push to accelerate its implementation widely - but that it is crucial we consider AI a “nifty tool” to use with awareness, rather than an impeccable “leader” that must not be questioned. AI systems are only as good as the data inputted and the questions asked of them by humans. This means that the conclusions returned are not free of human biases, but rather potentially amplify them. Essentially, as they are used now, AI systems simply return the same results as humans would, just “faster and dumber.”

This is a concern because of the rush to implement AI, particularly in the field of medicine. In medicine there is an expectation of precision, but with so many biological variables, the more precise you get the more you diverge, so large scale information potentially becomes less valuable. For example, in the 1970s, various tools were introduced to help doctors predict the likelihood of certain diseases, but attempts to refine these profiles over the years have hit a barrier. Just as you could play a lottery with 1/1000 odds every day for a thousand days and still not win, there is a crucial difference between “the destiny of the person in front of you right now, the destiny of every similar person.”

His argument is not that we should not be developing AI, but that we must consider how we develop and implement it and how we contextualize the information it gives us. If we simply scale up the information we work with now without being informed about the risks, we risk causing serious damage.

Participate in the conversation with Marco here: What does it take to build a successful movement for citizens to gain control over when, how and to what use automated systems are introduced and used in society?

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