‘AI backlash likely if it’s not properly explained’
GOVERNMENTS and tech companies risk a popular backlash against artificial intelligence (AI) unless they better explain how it will be used, according to a new report.
Polling for the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) found widespread concern that AI will create a “Computer Says No” culture, in which crucial decisions are made automatically without consideration of individual circumstances.
If the public feel “victimised or disempowered” by intelligent machines, they may resist the introduction of new technologies, even if it holds back progress which could benefit them, the report warned.
Fear of inflexible automatic decision-making was a greater concern than robots taking humans’ jobs among those taking part in a survey by pollsters YouGov for the RSA.
Despite recent publicity about the misuse of Facebook users’ personal data to target online ads, issues surrounding social marketing were bottom of the list of concerns.
Some 60% of those questioned opposed automated decision-making by computers in recruitment and promotion choices, and the same proportion said it should not be used to help courts judge whether to grant a defendant bail or recommend rehabilitation. Just 11% backed its use in recruitment and 12% in the courts.
Use of automated decision-making in the immigration system was opposed by a margin of 54%-16%, in social security by 52%-17%, in healthcare by 48%-20% and in financial services by 48%-27%.
Only in the area of advertising and social media were opinions more balanced, with 28% opposing its use against 26% who supported it. Some 61% said their main concern about automated decision-making was AI does not have “the compassion to make important decisions”.