May 8, 2018
Artificial intelligence (AI) is seen as both a boon and a
threat. It uses our personal data to influence our lives without us
realising it. It is used by social media to draw our attention to
things we are interested in buying, and by our tablets and
computers to predict what we want to type (good). It facilitates
targeting of voters to influence elections (bad, particularly if
your side loses).
Perhaps the truth or otherwise of allegations such as electoral interference should be regarded in the light of the interests of their promotors. Politicians are always ready to accuse an opponent of being unscrupulous in his methods, including the use of AI to promote fake news, or influencing targeted voters in other ways. A cynic might argue that the political class wishes to retain control over propaganda by manipulating the traditional media he understands and is frightened AI will introduce black arts to his disadvantage. Whatever the influences behind the debate, there is no doubt that AI is propelling us into a new world, and we must learn to embrace it whether we like it or not.