AI has become central to how we interact with the world and deal with complex, information-rich situations. Algorithmic search engines, advertising technologies, and content recommendation algorithms (e.g. Netflix, YouTube) have shaped what we encounter online for some time. More recently, AI has begun to perform more complex sense-making tasks once performed independently by humans, such as synthesis,[i] analysis,[ii] and content generation.[iii] Among novel applications, AI is:
- creating financial and sports articles for news outlets[iv]
- used in some hiring processes[v]
- analyzing crime scene photos[vi]
- screening visa applications,[vii] sorting refugee claimants,[viii] and conducting border interviews.[ix]
Some highly capable AI algorithms and machine learning models, like ChatGPT[x] and DALL-E[xi], may radically facilitate creating art,[xii] writing diverse content,[xiii] and coding computer programs.[xiv]
The future may bring significant changes, as continued advances in machine learning improve AI’s ability to understand context and create original content at a staggering rate. Powerful and accessible AI language translation[xv] could empower us to make more sense of each other, enhancing trust and social connections.[xvi] New sensing technologies[xvii] could enable AI to give us a whole range of insights on our environments and how they affect us. Emerging augmented reality[xviii] (AR) and virtual reality[xix] (VR) spaces could allow us to interact with AI partners in more natural and efficient ways that improve our sense-making abilities. At the same time, increasingly complex AI systems seamlessly integrated into our lives may make it harder to know how we reach certain conclusions.
[i] James Vincent, “A new use for AI: summarizing scientific research for seven year-olds,” The Verge, last modified Jan. 18, 2022, https://www.theverge.com/2022/1/18/22889180/ai-language-summary-scientific-research-tldr-papers.
[ii] A. Tarantola, “DARPA helped create a sarcasm detector, because of course it did,” Endgaget, last modified May 21, 2021, https://www.engadget.com/darpa-helped-make-a-sarcasm-detector-because-of-course-it-did-193037356.html.
[iii] M. Heikkilä, “Get ready for the next generation of AI,” MIT Technology Review, last modified Oct. 3, 2022, https://www.technologyreview.com/2022/10/03/1060561/get-ready-for-the-next-generation-of-ai/.
[iv] Calum Chase, “The Impact of AI on Journalism,” Forbes, last modified Aug. 24, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/calumchace/2020/08/24/the-impact-of-ai-on-journalism/.
[v] Hilke Schellmen, “Auditors are testing hiring algorithms for bias, but there’s no easy fix,” MIT Technology Review, last modified Feb. 11, 2021, https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/02/11/1017955/auditors-testing-ai-hiring-algorithms-bias-big-questions-remain/.
[vi] Chris Baraniuk, “The new weapon in the fight against crime,” BBC Future, last modified Mar. 3, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190228-how-ai-is-helping-to-fight-crime.
[vii] Stever Meurrens, “The increasing role of AI in visa applications,” Canadian Immigrant, last modified Nov. 18, 2021, https://canadianimmigrant.ca/immigrate/immigration-law/the-increasing-role-of-ai-in-visa-processing.
[viii] Hillary Cameron, “Could artificial intelligence improve decision-making in refugee cases,” Open Democracy, last modified Apr. 13, 2021, https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/pandemic-border/could-artificial-intelligence-improve-decision-making-refugee-cases/.
[ix] Petra Molnar, “Technological Testing Grounds: Migration management experiments and reflections from the ground up,” European Digital Rights Institute, accessed Aug. 9, 2022, https://edri.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Technological-Testing-Grounds.pdf.
[x] P. Wood, “We made the ChatGPT AI take a GCSE History exam, and had it marked by a teacher,“ iNews, last modified Dec. 7, 2022, https://inews.co.uk/news/education/what-happened-ai-gcse-history-homework-chatgpt-fears-death-essay-2013269.
[xii] Natasha Lomas, “This AI-powered art app lets you paint pictures with words,” TechCrunch, last modified Dec. 21, 2021, https://techcrunch.com/2021/12/23/wombo-dream-app/#.
[xiii] Corinne Purtil, “Artificial Intelligence can now craft original jokes – and that’s no laughing matter,” Time, last modified Jan. 4, 2022, https://time.com/6132544/artificial-intelligence-humor/.
[xv] Bryan Walsh, “AI could end foreign-language subtitles,” Axios, last modified Dec. 4, 2021, https://www.axios.com/2021/12/04/artificial-intelligence-voice-dubbing-synthetic.
[xvi] Anand Rao, “How AI can help create more caring company cultures,” Quartz at Work, last modified Jul. 13, 2021, https://qz.com/work/2031109/how-ai-can-help-create-a-more-caring-company-culture/.
[xvii] Charlotte Hu, “One of Facebook’s first moves as Meta: teaching robots to touch and feel,” Popular Science+, last modified Nov. 1, 2021, https://www.popsci.com/technology/meta-ai-metaverse-robot-finger-skin/.
[xviii] “How an augmented reality app turned London into an immersive art gallery,” Aeon, last modified Jan. 18, 2021, https://aeon.co/videos/how-an-augmented-reality-app-transformed-london-into-an-immersive-art-gallery.
[xix] Scott Stein, “Microsoft Mesh will teleport you in AR and VR to play with others across lots of devices,” CNET, last modified Mar. 2, 2021, https://www.cnet.com/tech/computing/microsoft-mesh-will-teleport-you-in-ar-and-vr-to-play-with-others-across-lots-of-devices/.