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5 Areas Showing the Darker Side of Artificial Intelligence

While the benefits of artificial intelligence on efficiency and data processing are clear, the technology is not without its dark side.

So what are some of the negative aspects of the use of artificial intelligence?

Today I’m going to talk about some of the unintended consequences of AI.

Welcome to my countdown of the dark side of artificial intelligence.

1/ Unconscious Bias in Algorithm Design

There have been several high profile news articles showing the impact of unconscious bias in the training data set and algorithm design.

On the 8th of October, Amazon announced was scrapping its machine learning based CV vetting algorithm. They trained the algorithm on CV data from Amazon applicants.

Zach Galifianakis Algorithm GIF by Product Hunt - Find & Share on GIPHY


For software development and engineering roles, the algorithm was showing bias towards men, reflecting the current dominance of males in these industries.

For example, it graded CVs containing the word ‘women’ or ‘women’s’ lower.

Cases like these show the need to be careful when developing artificial intelligence. We cannot pass the unconscious biases we all have on to the algorithms.

The risk if we don’t design is these biases will be rapidly scaled in production.

2/ The Fear Over Job Losses

As with the industrial revolution, the technological revolution has and will continue to change the way we work. Certain job types are at risk as the use of artificial intelligence becomes more widespread.

Specifically, jobs involving repetitive, predictable tasks will become automated.

This is understandably concerning for many people.

But it doesn’t need to be.

job losses technology

If we are able to do an excellent job in training people to be able to work in this new world, there will be plenty of opportunities.

Furthermore, not all jobs will be automatable.

Certain roles in creative industries, which are harder to predictably program, will not be automated. These industries could grow as artificial intelligence picks up the heavy lifting in others.

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3/ Lack of an Ethical Framework

Now with the growth of artificial intelligence happening at breakneck speed, the impact of a lack of an ethical framework is becoming evident.

This technology has meant that things that would have taken months now take minutes. Where previously people would have had time to debate, review and develop legislation to manage the ethical aspects of technology, now they do not.

In addition to this, some of the reaction to AI in the media and politics fails to show a technical understanding of the revolution. This makes the actions taken seem profoundly reactionary without proper review, ultimately making them ineffective.

Read my thoughts on the parameters for ethical debate here.

4/ The Rise of Fake News

The spread of fake news can be, at least in part, attributed to the use of artificial intelligence in the form of ranking and relevance algorithms.

There can be little doubt that fake news is having a profound effect on our society.

The producers of fake news are particularly good at producing content headers that makes you want to click on and share it.

More people sharing, a post goes viral, and the algorithm understands this to mean that this news is interesting and highly relevant to you. It does not necessarily know whether it’s true.

Stephen Colbert Fake News GIF by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert - Find & Share on GIPHY

This is where AI, alongside some somewhat dubious characters, have added poison to our news.

However, now artificial intelligence is used to tackle fake news. With luck, these new algorithms will become the cure to the problem of fake news.

5/ Separatism in Society

This is one I think many of you will be a little surprised to see here.

I have included it however as I see how artificial intelligence is used as yet another way to separate society.

This is part of why I started this blog.

I want to open up the conversation between the lovers and doubters of technology. Working through it together I believe we will find a way forward for all of us in society to take advantage of technology.

How to tackle the darker side of artificial intelligence

While these darker aspects of artificial intelligence are clear and concerning, if we work together we can prevent them and use the technology to deliver AI that helps support society.

There are many benefits of artificial intelligence that you can read about on my sister post to this one (here).

The time to involve yourself is now so we can ensure the benefits are realized.

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Darker side of AI

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