“An algorithm designed badly can go on for a long time, silently wreaking havoc.”

— Cathy O’Neil




Cathy O’Neil: The era of blind faith in big data must end | TED Talk | TED.com

Algorithms decide who gets a loan, who gets a job interview, who gets insurance and much more — but they don’t automatically make things fair. Mathematician and data scientist Cathy O’Neil coined a term for algorithms that are secret, important and harmful: “weapons of math destruction.” Learn more about the hidden agendas behind the formulas.





As AI Gets Smarter, Scholars Raise Ethics Questions — from by by Chris Hayhurst
Interdisciplinary artificial intelligence research fosters philosophical discussions.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

David Danks, head of the philosophy department at Carnegie Mellon University, has a message for his colleagues in the CMU robotics department: As they invent and develop the technologies of the future, he encourages them to consider the human dimensions of their work.

His concern? All too often, Danks says, technological innovation ignores the human need for ethical guidelines and moral standards. That’s especially true when it comes to innovations such as artificial intelligence and automation, he says.

“It’s, ‘Look at this cool technology that we’ve got. How can you stand in the way of something like this?’” says Danks. “We should be saying, ‘Wait a second. How is this technology affecting people?’”

As an example, Danks points to AI-powered medical diagnostic systems. Such tools have great potential to parse data for better decision-making, but they lack the social interaction between patient and physician that can be so important to those decisions. It’s one thing to have a technology that can diagnose a patient with strep throat and recommend a certain antibiotic, but what about a patient with cancer who happens to be a professional violinist?

“For most people, you’d just give them the most effective drug,” says Danks. “But what do you do if one of the side effects of that medication is hand tremors? I see a lot of possibilities with AI, but it’s also important to recognize the challenges.”