IdeaFestival 2017: Algorithms, AI and other Frankenstein-like technologies

Image: Teena Maddox/TechRepublic

The intersection of technology and society has created a new world filled with AI algorithms that determine everything from what we see on Facebook newsfeeds to the ads that we see online.

Learning how to navigate these potential hazards was the focus of a session this week at IdeaFestival 2017 in Louisville, KY. Emily Dreyfuss, senior writer for Wired, discussed the impact of AI algorithms and what we can do about it.

“What I’d like to do is tell you about how I, over the past couple of years, have come to the conclusion that the mantra that you’re all familiar with, ‘move fast and break things,’ that animates Silicon Valley, has outlived its appropriateness,” Dreyfuss said. “In looking at the world that we have created and that we’re all living in today, I’ve come to the conclusion we need to rethink it because ‘move fast and break things’ has enabled us to move fast and lose control of our creations.”

SEE: How machine learning’s hype is hurting its promise (TechRepublic)

The abundance of information on our friends and co-workers that we can find on social media are one of the many obvious ways that technology is changing our lives and relationships. The less obvious ways are more invisible but permeate every aspect of our lives, including jobs and healthcare.

“I’m talking, of course, about algorithms. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, algorithms, these are all pretty much the same thing,” Dreyfuss said.

The many faces of AI

AI is awake and out there in many versions. Google’s AlphaGo is an example, in that it was an AI that Google trained to play the complicated game Go. The game beat the world’s best human player by using a move that no human player would have ever done, Dreyfuss explained.

“The computer was…

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