I am an AI Neophyte

I am an Artificial Intelligence (AI) neophyte. I�m not a data scientist or a computer scientist or even a mathematician. But I am fascinated by AI�s possibilities, enamored with its promise and at times terrified of its potential consequences.


I have the good fortune to work in the company of amazing data scientists that seek to harness AI�s possibilities. I wonder at their ability to make artificial intelligence systems �almost� human. And I use that term very intentionally.


I mean �almost� human, for to date, AI systems lack the fundamentals of humanness. They possess the mechanics of humanness, qualities like logic, rationale, and analytics, but that is far from what makes us human. Their most human trait is one we prefer they not inherit �� a propensity to perpetuate bias. �To be human is to have consciousness. To be sentient. To have common sense. And to be able to use these qualities and the life experience that informs them to interpret successfully not just the black and white of our world but the millions of shades of grey.


While data scientists are grappling with many technical challenges associated with AI there are a couple I find particularly interesting. The first is bias and the second is lack of common sense.


AI�s propensity to bias is a monster of our own making. Since AI is largely a slave to the data it is given to learn from, its outputs will reflect all aspects of that data, bias included. We have already seen situations where applications leveraging AI have perpetuated human bias unintentionally but with disturbing consequences.


For example, many states have started to use risk assessment tools that leverage AI to predict probable rates of recidivism for criminal defendants. These tools ..