There are a lot of folks who are talking about the implications of bias in machine learning — unintended bias, that rather elitist access to machine learning that that is not broadly available to others. The misuse of data and information that machine learning gives us, and the possibility of general access to AI and how that data gets used, is something that is creating a great deal of concern and a great deal of attention now.
Even though it might be a scary moment for the folks who are involved in technology, it is time for a little shake-up for us to rethink these business models. Do we really, in the long run, want people to have access to our personal data ad infinitum because they can make money and they can use it and they can plumb it and they can push this data and pump the data for the purpose of the success of a corporate entity? Or is it used in a way that is intended? Having the power to do so doesn’t mean that you should do so.
Nothing will be resolved overnight in a split-second decision. There won’t be a big bang, as I earlier mentioned. We should gain from our mistakes. We should think about, well, we made a mistake in terms of not being more careful about the limitations of artificial intelligence and the data that is kept, and we needed more framework around that data in terms of what’s permissible.
The Europeans have done a pretty interesting job around that fairly early on, and we could use their example, even though we have not embraced it as rigidly as they have circumscribed how personal data can be used. The greatest fear that people have is that their personal and private lives will be invaded by external forces over which they do not have control. That is certainly likely to happen when you don’t do the hard work of building understanding and consensus among trusted leaders and thought leaders who help to think through before the tragedies occur. Do we really need to have technology that begins to prep kids into Facebook Kids so that’s a pipeline for one corporation? What are the dangers? What are the benefits, and what are the dangers? It does takes some courage, because you’re pushing against the enormous corporate entities, but we’ve done that before.
Again, I refer you to my medical background in terms of ground zero for the violations and the many examples of human rights abuses and inequity in access. If there’s anything that we have seen out of this pandemic, it is a lack of equitable access to healthcare and to wellness based on not having access to the technology. Look at the kids in poor neighborhoods who didn’t have access to the technology
Even before the pandemic, I had participated in gaining conversations around “What if there is a pandemic?” People in healthcare communities do talk about that, but I don’t think anyone anticipated or imagined the implications for a whole sector of the population that very often is poorly understood and very often neglected. The cover came off in this particular crisis that we have been in with COVID-19. That’s an example of where we can do a better job of thinking and imagining what-ifs.