Artificial Intelligence, Democracy, Bill Gates, Algorithms, Code, Threats, Machine learning, meta democracy, wasteless future, citizens, people

As more and more artificial intelligence is used, we discover new unbelievable potential for resolving difficult problems, but we are also facing problems that were not even imaginable few years ago. In the 1990s and early 2000s, it was common to think of the internet as a decentralized, even anarchic, place where no one was really in charge. Online-only news organizations were still in their infancy, so that most people either got their news from traditional sources like newspapers or cable news shows, or else they went to the home pages of conventional news organizations like the New York Times, the Atlantic, or Fox News.

In 2016, we all learnt that Facebook’s algorithms were feeding the users with fake news in many cases. Timothy Lee, from Vox, explains the problem like this. “The rise of social media sites has changed things in two major ways. First, social media has drastically lowered barriers to entry in the news business. It has always been easy for anyone to publish a website, of course. But as news consumption is increasingly driven by social media sharing, it’s becoming easier than ever for no-name sites to reach a big audience. At the same time, a handful of big tech companies — Twitter, Google, and especially Facebook — have gained a huge and growing influence over what news people see. 44 percent of US adults tell pollsters they got news from Facebook in 2016… And while many people get their news from television programs or newspapers, those media are divided among many competing news organizations. This means that Facebook has a larger influence over ordinary Americans’ media diets than almost any other news organization…”

Artificial Intelligence, Democracy, Bill Gates, Algorithms, Code, Threats, Machine learning, meta democracy, wasteless future, citizens, people

But the problem seems to be even deeper and more complex. In the great article “Will democracy survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence” that was published in Scientific American, a bunch of scientists describe what’s coming for all of us. “Today, Singapore is seen as a perfect example of a data-controlled society. What started as a program to protect its citizens from terrorism has ended up influencing economic and immigration policy, the property market and school curricula. China is taking a similar route. Recently, Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of Google, invited the military to take part in the China Brain Project. It involves running so-called deep learning algorithms over the search engine data collected about its users. Beyond this, a kind of social control is also planned. According to recent reports, every Chinese citizen will receive a so-called ”Citizen Score”, which will determine under what conditions they may get loans, jobs, or travel visa to other countries. This kind of individual monitoring would include people’s Internet surfing and the behavior of their social contacts.” Their main conclusion is that with the advanced applications of artificial intelligence for commercial reasons we shift from programming computers to programming people. “The more is known about us, the less likely our choices are to be free and not predetermined by others. But it won’t stop there. Some software platforms are moving towards “persuasive computing.” In the future, using sophisticated manipulation technologies, these platforms will be able to steer us through entire courses of action, be it for the execution of complex work processes or to generate free content for Internet platforms, from which corporations earn billions. The trend goes from programming computers to programming people.”

Artificial Intelligence, Democracy, Bill Gates, Algorithms, Code, Threats, Machine learning, meta democracy, wasteless future, citizens, people

But the problem seems to be even deeper and more complex. In the great article “Will Democracy Survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence?” that was published in Scientific American, a bunch of scientists describe what’s coming for all of us. “Today, Singapore is seen as a perfect example of a data-controlled society. What started as a program to protect its citizens from terrorism has ended up influencing economic and immigration policy, the property market and school curricula. China is taking a similar route. Recently, Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of Google, invited the military to take part in the China Brain Project. It involves running so-called deep learning algorithms over the search engine data collected about its users. Beyond this, a kind of social control is also planned. According to recent reports, every Chinese citizen will receive a so-called ”Citizen Score”, which will determine under what conditions they may get loans, jobs, or travel visa to other countries. This kind of individual monitoring would include people’s Internet surfing and the behavior of their social contacts.” Their main conclusion is that with the advanced applications of artificial intelligence for commercial reasons we shift from programming computers to programming people. “The more is known about us, the less likely our choices are to be free and not predetermined by others. But it won’t stop there. Some software platforms are moving towards “persuasive computing.” In the future, using sophisticated manipulation technologies, these platforms will be able to steer us through entire courses of action, be it for the execution of complex work processes or to generate free content for Internet platforms, from which corporations earn billions. The trend goes from programming computers to programming people.”

Another great example is presented by Quincy Larson in Medium, in his article “What do Uber, Volkswagen and Zenefits have in common? They all used hidden code to break the law”. In this article, the author explains the huge power of software developers “The world is increasingly dependent on the code that developers create. As such, developers are quickly becoming some of the most powerful people in the world. Coding is a superpower. With it, you can bend reality to your will. You can make the world a better place. Or you can destroy it.”

The more the algorithms are out of any public control, the more they become a real existential threat for democracy! Uber and Volkswagen were caught, but they demonstrate how unprepared our democracies are to manage the new era where algorithms will determine many of the day to day activities and their relevant social outputs. Artificial Intelligence undermines Democracy as we know it and sooner or later it will make it obsolete, unless citizens demand a democratic renaissance!

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