Dec 16, 2021 6 min read

Artificial Intelligence in an Unequal World

Wiser! Essays (AI): UK Gov launches new AI standards; Nations that invest in AI do better and a roundup of some of the top stories from the world of AI

Updates and Stories from the World of AI

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UK Gov launches AI transparency standard

BackStory:  The UK Gov has launched the Algorithmic Transparency Standard for organisations in the public sector.

The guidance provides a framework for providing information on algorithmic tools and algorithm-assisted decisions in an open, understandable, and easy to access format.

"38% of the UK public was not aware that algorithmic systems were used to support decisions using personal data", (such as deciding if an individual would need social support.)
Results of polling for the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation.

TakeAway:  UK Gov has made the commitment to explore "an appropriate and effective way to deliver greater transparency on algorithm-assisted decision making in the public sector."

This is part of the UK's National AI Strategy that includes defining a standard for algorithmic transparency. The move follows a year when the UK’s Test and Trace program could ping your phone at any point and cancel your weekend plans, and when students took to the streets chanting “F一 the algorithm!” after exams were cancelled and their university acceptances were instead decided by an algorithm.

Sources: HM Gov.UK , United News Post

Artificial Intelligence in an Unequal World

BackStory:  In 2017, PWC published a study that concluded that countries investing in AI technologies could see 14% growth in their GDP by 2030. A good thing, right?

Well, it depends. A new academic study has found that automation technology has been the primary driver in U.S. income inequality over the past 40 years. The report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research claims that 50% to 70% of changes in U.S. wages since 1980 can be attributed to wage declines among blue-collar workers who were replaced or degraded by automation. The report also found that labour participation amongst young men in the United States has also declined since the advent of Artificial Intelligence.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), around three-quarters of all new digital innovations and patents are produced by just 250 firms.

Out of the 15 largest digital platforms, eight are from the US, and six are Chinese. AI is typically the central technology of these firms, from Google to ByteDance to Facebook.

On November 25 this year, 193 member states formally adopted UNESCO’s 'Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence'. However, this is unlikely to change the dynamics as the digitally enabled “haves” distance them Seles further from the “have-nots”.

WHAT IS A "MODEL"?: A model is the output of an algorithm once it’s been trained on a data set. It combines the rules, numbers, and any other algorithm-specific data structures needed to make predictions. A model represents what was learned by a machine learning algorithm.

TakeAway:  Put this all together and it points to an increased concentration on wealth in two nations, the USA and China, and in a minority of shareholders with stakes in the biggest tech firms.

Will this widen the gap even further with the poorest nations falling even further behind over the next decade? Sadly, it probably will. Then I got thinking….on the flip side, you have crypto, DeFi, Web3 and Bitcoin; decentralised systems that shift the equilibrium to communities and people away from corporates and governments.

Elon Musk may think that Web3 is “BS", but on this occasion, I’m not so sure that I agree with him. If there is to be an antidote to the surveillance capitalism that Michael portrays, one that has driven the AI-enabled giants to massive power and profits, it might just be that it’s a decentralised one.

Snippets from the World of AI

Clearview AI on track to win U.S. patent for facial recognition technology

The US government is moving to award a lucrative patent for a “search engine for faces,” a technology that has members of Congress and privacy advocates up in arms.

Source: Politico

Your Face Is, or Will Be, Your Boarding Pass

Tech-driven changes are coming fast and furiously to airports, including advancements in biometrics that verify identity and shorten security procedures for those passengers who opt into the programs.

Source: New York Times

Mercedes Beats Tesla to Hands-Free Driving on the Autobahn

Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz won regulatory approval to deploy a hands-free driving system in Germany ahead of Tesla Inc., gaining an edge in the race to offer higher levels of automation in one of the world’s most competitive car markets.

Source: Transport Topics

Algorithms are Making Many of Your Decisions, and You Might be OK With That

A new study by University of Arizona law professor Derek Bambauer suggests that most people are content to let big data-produced algorithms decide many, but not all, of their day-to-day decisions.

Source: University of Arizona

The Carbon Footprint of Machine Learning

They estimated that training OpenAI’s giant GPT-3 text-generating model is akin to driving a car to the Moon and back, which is about 700,000 km or 435,000 miles.

Source: Empty Pages

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