Do I need an AI Advisor?

I’m troubled, truly troubled by the endless talk of AI. We don’t even say Artificial Intelligence anymore. ‘AI’ has taken on a life of its own. 

‘Oh it’s the AI’ 

‘It’s all decided by AI’ 

 ‘they are AIs’

Do I need help?

I read recently that the Pope has an AI Advisor. If such an elevated person needs help then surely so do I.

The Pope’s advisor is Paolo Benanti, a Franciscan monk with a PhD in technology and ethics. 

“He’s much more active on the value side of the discussion as opposed to technology and complicated maths.” He doesn’t so much discuss the inner workings of AI with the Pope as the potential human consequences.

Hurrah! Ethics and AI – human centred AI – this is what we need!

I’m not the only one worried about this.

In 2021 UNESCO set out its recommendations for the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence to put in place regulations to create human-centred AI so that emerging technologies benefit the population.

What kind of help do I need? I’m being bombarded from every side: AI art generator, AI image generator, self-aware AI, AI assistants, AI robotics, AI assisted surgery . . .

AI watching me, controlling me.

The awesome Henry Kissinger at the age of 98 goes even further and is deeply concerned for the future of humanity. His co-authored book The Age of AI: And Our Human Future says it all. TIME magazine summarises his view:

“AI processes have become so powerful, so seamlessly enmeshed in human affairs, and so unpredictable, that without some form of forethought and management, the kind of ‘epoch making transformations’ they will deliver may send human history in a dangerous direction.”

“ . . . we are moving into a new period of human consciousness which we don’t yet fully understand. . . . we mean that the perception of the world will be different, at least as different as between the age of enlightenment and the medieval period, when the Western world moved from a religious perception of the world to a perception of the world on the basis of reason, slowly. . . This will be faster.”

‘A new period of human consciousness’? No wonder I’m worried about AI. 

Am I going mad? Do I need help?

Yes please! Dear Franciscan monk help me, advise me, re-assure me.

That’s pretty unlikely to happen – so who regulates AI in the UK?

While the EU is developing an AI Act which may develop into a something akin to GDPR. Here in the UK we look to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) which has AI as a priority area and believes that existing privacy legislation is able to accommodate it.

The ICO has guidance for organisations to help them explain their use of AI to individuals like me but on reading the ICO’s plethora of algorithmic techniques that go into an AI its hardly surprising that I am worried.

We need to insist that organisations explain their use of AI to us.

We all need to ask more questions, we really do. 

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