Automation & AI have potential to both increase productivity & exacerbate existing wealth inequality, says report

Author: Alex Campolo, Madelyn Sanfilippo, Meredith Whittaker & Kate Crawford, New York University, Published on: 1 November 2017

"AI Now: 2017 report," November 2017

Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are in a phase of rapid development... The AI Now 2017 Report addresses the most recent scholarly literature in order to raise critical social questions that will shape our present and near future... [T]his report focuses on new developments in four areas: labor and automation, bias and inclusion, rights and liberties, and ethics and governance... [and makes recommendations].

... Labour and automation: While few jobs will be completely automated in the near term, researchers estimate that about a third of workplace tasks can be automated for the majority of workers... An underexplored area that needs urgent attention is how AI and related algorithmic systems are already changing the balance of workplace power. Machine learning techniques are quickly being integrated into management and hiring decisions, including in the so-called gig economy where technical systems match workers with jobs, but also across more traditional white collar industries. New systems make promises of flexibility and efficiency, but they also intensify the surveillance of workers, who often do not know when and how they are being tracked and evaluated, or why they are hired or fired.

... Rights​ ​and​ ​liberties​: The application of AI systems in public and civil institutions is challenging existing political arrangements, especially in a global political context shaped by events such as the election of Donald Trump in the United States. A number of governmental agencies are already partnering with private corporations to deploy AI systems in ways that challenge civil rights and liberties. For example, police body camera footage is being used to train machine vision algorithms for law enforcement, raising privacy and accountability concerns.

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