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Why Hillary is Wrong About AI Not Being Our Friend, But Right About The Problem

 WAF-bugler.jpgIn a recent article published on The Verge, Hillary Clinton sounded the same trumpet that Elon Musk, Stephen Hawkings and others have sounded when she said, "artificial intelligence is not our friend." 

Let's consider, however, the fact that artificial intelligence is like a piece of steel.

It is indifferent.

It does not have friends, enemies, or families. Nor is it a species with intention.

I don't mean to take her literally, as her fear can also be articulated as economic impact.  But AI is not the problem. 

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Hillary is right in that there is a problem, but that problem is not AI any more than it is a peice of steel. Yes, we can use these things, as we shape and mold them, to our advantage.

But the problem is us.

We humans are artificial intelligence. We are the robots. We wield the AI and the steel. And it is true that we humans are not always friendly to our fellows.

 What is needed is not a fear of artificial intelligence, but a fear of the very things that make us most fearsome as humans. They are traditional and legion: immoral power imbalances, non-sustainable practices, greed, egoism, short-sighted vision, ignorance, waste, and other sins that have followed we humans since the first war was waged.  These are the things we should fear.  Libraries are what AI runs on, so libraries, like steel, have capacity to harm (pens and swords, as it were), but what we must attend to are the people that control AI.

 AI is -- at its simplest -- an ability to predict. 

leadership-153250_960_720.pngYes, the problem is excaccerbated by the effeciency and speed of technology, but the problem remains the same source.  This is not a simple problem with a simple solution. It requires vigilence and constant discussions and thought leadership. For our part, we will continue to explore, exemplify and lead the conversation around ethics in AI.  We invite you to join us in the conversation!