How is AI changing our lives?

The EU has presented ethical guidelines for the use of artificial intelligence. Businesses, research institutes and authorities will now test the guidelines in a pilot phase after which legislation is to be drawn up. Politics and society are still far too passive when it comes to shaping the future, commentators complain.

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Krytyka Polityczna (PL) /

Take the future in our hands

Krytyka Polityczna criticises that too little attention is being given to debate about Life 4.0:

“When the spectres of populism and nationalism haunt Europe, no one thinks about the consequences of technological change that will affect each and every one of us in ten to twenty years' time. The regulation process is postponed, thwarted by strong lobbies, and the public is being manipulated by contradictory, emotional messages. ... In the meantime production is changing, protein is being replaced by silicon, blue-collar jobs are disappearing and ever more youths are being trained for careers that don't correspond to today's reality. Instead of waging social wars with weapons from the past it would be worthwhile to think about how we can prepare for the imminent changes.”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

"Ethics washing" is no good

It would be a mistake if the EU Commission were to leave it up to the industry to regulate itself, writes Handelsblatt:

“To use a variation on the words of a politician: The probability of a dog stockpiling sausages would be higher than that of the telecommunications sector regulating itself. ... Numerous tech firms have already established such ethics committees. But as a rule these bodies only have an advisory function, are not allowed to talk about their work, and their input is not binding for the management. Critics are therefore talking of 'ethics washing' in the industry as a way of avoiding regulation by the state. That's why it's all the more important to put the rules for this new era - and above all the monitoring of adherence to the rules - in hands of government authorities.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

Machines taking over our responsibilities

Laurence Trochu, president of the conservative political organisation Sens commun, details in Le Figaro the dangers that are bound up with artificial intelligence:

“Our digital assistants guide us, and in so doing they order us around. And they strip us of what makes us specifically human: our ability to express ourselves, to make decisions and to commit ourselves. The very possibility of shouldering responsibility disappears. The automatic piloting of human and administrative matters also means the end of politics, because the very conditions that make it possible disappear: contradiction and deliberation.”

Les Echos (FR) /

At the service of humans

Attempts by many companies to develop AI solutions in a hurry generally lead nowhere, remarks Pierre Cabane of the AI search and analytics provider Sinequa in Les Echos:

“First of all this pushes technology suppliers to their limits. Often sales cycles can last up to 24 months, and revenues don't cover expenses. Secondly, it leads to growing dissatisfaction on the part of teams that are increasingly tired of waiting for much touted 'disruptive solutions' [innovations that replace existing technologies] that will revolutionise their day-to-day work. ... Artificial intelligence is only good when it doesn't try to replace people in businesses but to help them complete their daily tasks instead.”