Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to technologies that perceive, learn and reason in ways that simulate human cognitive abilities. TAP scholars consider AI’s effects on labor, business, policing, law, medicine, war, free speech, privacy and democracy, and discuss potential solutions to mitigate harms.

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Facebook Increasingly Reliant on A.I. To Predict Suicide Risk

"The way it would happen would be we would take something that everybody agrees is terrible — something like suicide, which is epidemic, something like child pornography, something like terrorism — so these early things, and then if they show promise in these sectors, we broaden them to more and more things. And that's a concern." — Ryan Calo, Professor of Law, University of Washington

M. Ryan Calo
Source: NPR’s All Things Considered
November 17, 2018

The Race Is On After Feds Pave Way for Driverless Trucks

"They understand that things may happen with autonomous vehicles that wouldn't happen with human drivers. They're saying there may be fewer accidents, but there will also be different accidents, and we need to plan for that." — Ryan Calo, Professor of Law, University of Washington

M. Ryan Calo
Source: U.S. News & World Report
October 15, 2018

IBM Has Invented Coffee Drones – and They Predict When You Need a Cup

"It's a combination of technology that is ready for prime time and technology that clearly is not ready for prime time. It's a drone that flies coffee around. It's going to be hard, cross referencing all these (factors) ... Why not use a land-based cart?" — Ryan Calo, Professor of Law, University of Washington

M. Ryan Calo
Source: CNBC
August 22, 2018

Artificial Intelligence Will Replace Tasks, Not Jobs

"Tasks within jobs typically show considerable variability in 'suitability for machine learning' while few -- if any -- jobs can be fully automated using machine learning. Machine learning technology can transform many jobs in the economy, but full automation will be less significant than the re-engineering of processes and the reorganization of tasks." — Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor of Economics, MIT Sloan School of Management

Erik Brynjolfsson
Source: Forbes
August 14, 2018

The Future of Work: Will Robots Take My Job?

"Automation is almost always about automating a task, not the entire job." — James Bessen, Economist, Boston University

James Bessen
Source: Knowable Magazine
July 28, 2018

Bots of the Internet, Reveal Yourselves!

"Political commentary comes in different forms. Imagine a concerned citizen sets up a bot to criticize a particular official for failing to act on climate change. Now say that official runs for re-election. Is the concerned citizen now in violation of California law?" — Ryan Calo, Professor of Law, University of Washington

M. Ryan Calo
Source: The New York Times
July 16, 2018

Unmasking A.I.'s Bias Problem

The most powerful algorithms being used today "haven’t been optimized for any definition of fairness. They have been optimized to do a task." — Deirdre Mulligan, Associate Professor in the School of Information, University of California, Berkeley

Deirdre Mulligan
Source: Fortune
June 25, 2018

Bias Detectives: The Researchers Striving to Make Algorithms Fair

"What concerns me most is the idea that we’re coming up with systems that are supposed to ameliorate problems [but] that might end up exacerbating them." — Kate Crawford, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

Kate Crawford
Source: Nature
June 20, 2018

AI Will Change Stock-Market Trading, But It Can’t Wipe Out the Human Touch

"Put simply, AI works well when the trading objective is obvious. But when it is complex and hard to describe, there is no substitute for human judgment." — Joshua Gans, Professor of Strategic Management, University of Toronto

Joshua Gans
Source: MarketWatch
May 15, 2018

Should We Root for Robot Rights?

"Social evolutions are messy and may follow a crooked path, but in the same way that tobacco went from king of cool to social misfit, there is plenty of reason to believe we can find ways to enjoy the personal connections and information sharing while learning to limit the antisocial influences." — Evan Selinger, Professor of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology

Evan Selinger
Source: Medium
February 15, 2018
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TAP Blog

Harvard’s Jonathan Zittrain Discusses Three Eras of Governing Digital Platforms

Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain shares several years of thinking around digital governance during his talk at the 2020 Tanner Lecture on Human Values. His two-part lecture, titled “Gaining Power, Losing Control,” reflects on how technology has empowered humanity, and yet in many ways, we have less and less control.

TAP Staff Blogger

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Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to technologies that perform learning and reasoning in ways that simulate human cognitive abilities.

Featured Article

Demographics and Automation

Some predict that economic growth will slow in countries with rapidly aging populations. But data shows that firms respond to scarcity of middle-aged workers by automating. These firms become more productive.

By: Daron Acemoglu, Pascual Restrepo