A blog about the social impact of AI


6 December 2019

In Search of a PhD Student and a Postdoctoral Researcher to Help Us Predict the Spread of AI in Society

We were very glad to find that our research proposal: "Predicting the diffusion of AI-applications" was one of 16 projects awarded funding by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation. The project starts in 2020. We are now looking for a…

3 December 2019

Diffusion by Infusion - Has AI Spread by Piggybacking on Mobile Apps?

Figure 1. Piggyback transportation: a train carried by a ferry between Bonn and Oberkassel (1870 - 1914). Source: Stadtarchiv und Stadthistorische Bibliothek, Bonn. Social and ethical impacts of any technology presuppose its diffusion. That is why we need to understand…

11 October 2019

The Binge-watching Problem

It is a quarter to midnight on a Tuesday and you are asking your virtual voice assistant to stream the next episode. Seems an easy task for an AI. The catch is that last week you asked that your voice…

1 October 2019

An AI system does not always do as we intended

In his 1951 lecture Intelligent machinery: A heretical theory, Alan Turing, who is widely recognized as the father of computer science, offered several ideas that foreshadowed much of cutting-edge AI safety discussion of the early 21st century. The following ominous…

30 September 2019

Political views of leaders of AI companies

It is often said that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Many leaders of corporations at the forefront of artificial intelligence recognize this. For example, the CEO of Genpact says that companies need to reduce racial and gender bias of…

24 September 2019

Was AlphaGo Asia’s “Sputnik Moment”?

Over the next decade, many governments will face a series of choices with regards to the deployment and regulation of machine learning technology. These choices are likely to be influenced by public opinion and interest in this technology. The extent…

24 September 2019

Political views of employees of AI companies

In the debate about artificial intelligence, there is the argument that it is virtually impossible for policymakers to understand the complex nature of AI, let alone to regulate it efficiently, timely, and properly. Instead, more and more people place their…

23 September 2019

Sage Against the Machine - Conditions for AI vs. Human Expertise

Comparing Daniel Kahneman's conditions for human expertise with the conditions required to develop deep reinforcement learning algorithms

18 September 2019

On the alleged safety of autonomous vehicles

An autonomous vehicle is a vehicle that can autonomously execute a high-level transportation task - for example, “get me from A to B” - after human instructions. Autonomous vehicles have been touted for a while as “the next big thing”,…

18 September 2019

AI Futures

AI technology is shaking the social bedrock. From politics to dating, from warfare to computer games, the human condition is being reshaped by AI in both manifest and subtle ways. As a consequence, the fog of hype around AI technology…