What is Al Politics

23 November 2017

Lab Chat

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more advanced year upon year. It’s only a matter of time, we’re told, before robots clean our houses, care for us and even take our jobs. One ex-Google employee has already tried to create an AI Godhead. So, how about politics?

No, we’re not talking about robots becoming politicians – yet. But it’s clear this fast-developing technology is going to become more and more embedded in society. With that, comes a need for political debate and decisions to be made. Read on to see why AI needs to be added to the political agenda.

Make or break

According to Stephen Hawking, AI could make or break humanity over the next century. It’s possible that, as robots become more and more intelligent and capable of replicating human activity, we will actually create something that could surpass ourselves. While humans are limited by slow evolution, robots could become capable of re-designing themselves at an exponential rate.

Hawking suggests the solution to this is making life interplanetary. That way, if a disaster occurs on Earth, there’s nothing stopping us abandoning the planet. In the short term, however, it’s important that we’re equipped to make decisions about AI and how it can be used.

Political AI

The United Arab Emirates haven’t held back in their efforts keep at the forefront of technology. In October, they appointed 27-year-old Omar Bin Sultan as the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence. The new government position is part of the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, which was announced just two days earlier.

It’s a move which has drawn praise from international counterparts. Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, praised the idea of putting AI so central within the government.

“Different countries organise their governments in different ways but absolutely it has to be on the political agenda and I think that the mistake so far is that we’ve been thinking AI is just a technological challenge and it’s not,” said Moedas. “It’s a political issue: in terms of ethics, in terms of liability.”

“There will be political choices to make in terms of artificial intelligence and the political choice [is]… [do] you want AI to augment our intelligence to get us be a better person and to do the things we do better or if you want AI to replace us,” he explained. Moedas also suggested Europe should consider appointing someone to a similar role. So, it might not be long before the rest of the world have their own ministers for AI.

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