Workshop highlights need for tight reins on AI

Image: Eye scan
Google DeepMind is working with London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital to teach an AI program how to recognize eye disease. (Credit: Google Deepmind)

The White House wound up a nationwide series of workshops on artificial intelligence today on a cautionary note: Yes, AI promises to ease many of humanity’s ills, but humanity needs to make sure that flesh-and-blood policymakers are firmly in charge.

Latanya Sweeney, director of the Data Privacy Lab at Harvard’s Institute of Quantitative Social Science, said AI programs should be made to reflect the norms agreed upon by human society.

“I want the people we elect controlling those norms, not the technology itself. … The algorithms have to be able to be transparent, tested, and have some kind of warranty or be available for inspection,” she said during today’s public workshop, which was conducted at New York University.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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