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(Five-minute read)

We all know that new data-driven technology is transforming our society.

Our digital society is creating new and profound challenges and carry significant ethical risks to us all.

To be human means that you are persuadable in every single moment.

If you need any evidence of this you don’t have to look any further than the current impeachment hearing in the USA and England with its general election.

The troubling influence algorithms have on how we make decisions are now treating the foundations of our Societies.

Algorithms are now usually a component in a broader decision- making process involving human decision-makers. Far from being neutral and all-knowing decision tools, complex algorithms are shaped by humans, who are, for all intents and purposes, imperfect.

Determining the meaning of sensory input is one of the most constantly ongoing, and important, functions of any brain. By refining our awareness, we transform existence into beauty, thinking into philosophy.How Artificial Intelligence Will Revolutionize Our Lives

Our increasing reliance on artificial intelligence is destroying the meaning of life.

Few of us understand them or the implications they are having or will have. .

They are taking the creativity away from the decision-making process for instance.

They could turn us humans into mush-minded creatures who can’t be bothered to make our own choices.

What if the new algorithm rated my friend and another woman as a 90% match, would that mean he would simply trust the algorithm and go straight for a proposal of marriage?

Important parts of our lives are being run by AI without sufficient scrutiny.

Self-learning systems are not autonomous systems however they could lead to a Master Algorithm that could match Einstein’s theory of relativity in its world-transformative power.

Algorithms are changing our relationship with each other, with doctors, police, politics, work, health care.

They are at work where ever you look. When you do a web search, machine learning chooses the results you get. Interactive processing allowing the software to learn automatically from patterns. Algorithms are not only being used just to make a profit but life-changing decisions, from your Credit rating, how your will and who you will vote for.

With machine learning, you are programming a computer to learn by itself.

Amazon uses them to recommend products; Netflix uses them to recommend movies; Facebook and Twitter use them to choose which posts to show you.

Pretty much everything that happens online involves machine learning.

So are we putting to much trust in smart systems that learn from data?

The systems are only as good as the data it learns from.

Their goal is to provide software that can reason on input and explain on output by becoming classifiers and predictors.

Alexa – Google is an example. Like most machine-learning algorithms, Google not only analyses our behaviour: it shapes it. This goes round and round until one viewpoint dominates people’s thinking. It will control the information its algorithm pays attention to and the secretive nature of algorithms means people cannot scrutinise the decisions they make.

Since much of the data that is feed into AI’s is imperfect and bias the decision processes built on top of the Ai’s need to be made open to scrutiny.

Why?

Because Algorithms learn differently than us. They look at things differently.

It might enhance the speed, precision and effectiveness of human efforts but in the long run, it will replace our decision making.

They are also moving into areas where the benefits to those applying them may not be matched by the benefits to those subject to their ‘decisions’— We have to demand to know what kind of influence these algorithms have over us.

Google is an algorithm that we are all familiar with, but it is far from being the only algorithmic decision-making tool to influencing our daily lives.

What can be done to combat their growing influence?

Governments should play their part in the algorithms revolution in two ways

Governments should produce, publish, and maintain a list of where algorithms with significant impacts are being used.

The index to the internet should be a public instrument, owned and controlled by the public. It should be a public utility. It should be an index, pure and simple – not a tracking device or a mechanism of manipulation, put the control of algorithms back into the hands of the people that are affected by them.

Government oversight of such algorithms, where they are used by the
public sector, and to co-ordinate departments’ approaches to the development and
deployment of algorithms and partnerships with the private sector.

Governments should offer significant rewards for societies that can find the right combination of market-driven innovation and regulation to maximise the benefits of data-driven technology and minimise the harms.

We must subsequently make decisions that require value judgements and trade-offs between competing values.

New functions and actors, such as third party auditors, may also be required to independently verify claims made by organisations about how their algorithms operate.

Many of the most consequential algorithms currently being used in the public and private domains are complex and opaque, making it hard to attribute accountability to their actions.

Humans are often trusted to make these trade-offs without having to explicitly state how much weight they have put on different considerations. Algorithms are different. They are programmed to make trade-offs according to unambiguous rules.

The ethical questions in relation to bias in algorithmic decision-making vary depending on the context.

For example, High-frequency trading is an algorithm-fueled method of buying and selling stocks – among other things.

The fact that while the problematic implications of many algorithms have been exposed, we may have only just begun to skim the surface.

Improving transparency, however, is no easy task.

Companies with algorithmic products would lose their competitive edge if they were forced to make their algorithms public.

Transparency is not enough. In fact, because algorithms are quite complicated.

This is a simple matter.

What is required is a means of certification as to whether an algorithm is safe or fair to use.

Who knows, an algorithmic slider could, one day, form part of our daily lexicon. But, in the meantime, algorithms need to be managed; ensuring those with the power to shape our lives do so with some code of conduct.

In the end, all technology revolutions are propelled not just by discovery, but also by business and societal need. We pursue these new possibilities not because we can, but because we must.

As I have already said  “To be human means that you are pursuable in every single moment”

This morning without any action on my part through the post I am in receipt of an Amazon prime video card.

All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.