It is presented as this ethereal and objective way of making decisions, something that we can plug into everything from teaching kids to deciding who gets bail. But the name is deceptive: AI is neither artificial nor intelligent.
AI is made from vast amounts of natural resources, fuel, and human labor. And it's not intelligent in any kind of human intelligence way. It’s not able to discern things without extensive human training, and it has a completely different statistical logic for how meaning is made. Since the very beginning of AI back in 1956, we’ve made this terrible error, a sort of original sin of the field, to believe that minds are like computers and vice versa. We assume these things are an analog to human intelligence, and nothing could be further from the truth.
Too much today gets passed off as AI, for example a dashcam with lane guidance. No, it's just algorithms matching lines and those algorithms do very quick checks, and if it gets say more than an 80% match of what it expected to see, then it is following a road line marking. The reason why humans have to keep tweaking the algorithms, is because that is the 'learning process'. But it is much the same as a programmer constantly tweaking and adjusting a complex algorithm. Another algorithm could make adjustments to the first one based on outcomes, but it's really not intelligent, has no emotions, no guilt, no feelings.
This is partly the danger of just trusting AI blindly. You can't - you have to build hard boundaries in, or limit it to known problems. Maybe AI for bail applications must state when something is just beyond its algorithmic capabilities. Are algorithms just being used as a new way to covertly exert power? We need to recognise AI as still being a product of its creator's mindset.
See This Researcher Says AI Is Neither Artificial nor Intelligent
Kate Crawford, who holds positions at USC and Microsoft, says in a new book that even experts working on the technology misunderstand AI.