A debate over the power of AI for good … or ill?
Posted on 10th March 2019
The mainstream press in the UK have been engaged in a crusade for the last few years to challenge the might of the Social Media Giants. Clearly, the press barons are aware of just how much revenue they are losing to Google, Facebook et al, but that’s not to say they don’t have a lot of good points to make.
Facebook’s change of tack from “town square” to “living room” is just one manifestation of the pressure that’s being applied to the SMG, not just from the rest of the media but by users themselves, many of whom have left Facebook’s platform. There are lots of other examples, including an admissionby the co-founder of Android that he’s worried about the impact on his children of the world he’s helped create. However, no matter how the SMG re-train their algorithms they will continue to impact on the millions who use them. I suspect though, that the reality is that few of the general public actually understand the tech that underpins this: instead, they just react to the headlines or their own personal experience. But of course, just how the increasing use of AI influences us for good or ill is a very important subject.
All this is by way of preamble to the fact that on Monday 18th March, at the Merkle Edinburgh Office, there is a chance to get involved in a real debate about some of the most pressing issues in data.
The premise from Merkle Aquila for this evening is that “it might be time for a change of pace from panels whereby everyone agrees. So, in light of this year’s theme #DataTogether, we will be bringing together an elite panel - with support from Tableau, Data Lab, AWS, Microsoft (and more to come) - to debate whether automated AI/ML is good for society.”
More specifically, current trends raise several questions and beg the question of whether or not we can have sufficient control over these tools. On the one hand, AI allows companies to do more predictive modelling and arguably creates more accurate and better models. However, you might also wonder whether or not we ultimately lose out by going down this path. By failing to utilise the knowledge of Data Scientists are we missing out on the meaning in these models? Is the analysis simplified? Do we lose control of what we’re predicting and how it's being predicted?
The event will take the proper format of a debate - with opening arguments, rebuttals, questions and closing statements. Be-IT will be going along, so please look out for us there. The event begins at 6:30 with a drinks reception and ends at 8:30pm.
This is a great opportunity hear from some big thinkers in the industry and discuss how data is affecting the direction of our future. We encourage anyone with an interest in the topic to come along.
Michael Phair, Associate Director, Be-IT
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