How are Governments Using Artficial Intelligence? How are They Misusing AI?

How are Governments Using Artficial Intelligence? How are They Misusing AI? How are Governments Using Artficial Intelligence? How are They Misusing AI?

October 1, 20192 min read
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There has been a lot of talk about artificial intelligence – who is using it, how it works, and what it will lead to. 


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor James Hendler – who was recently named to the newly formed Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Technology Policy Council  penned a piece for The Conversation outlining the danger A.I. could pose to American society if there is not enough oversight.


Here are some excerpts:


“Artificial intelligence systems can – if properly used – help make government more effective and responsive, improving the lives of citizens. Improperly used, however, the dystopian visions of George Orwell’s “1984” become more realistic.


On their own and urged by a new presidential executive order, governments across the U.S., including state and federal agencies, are exploring ways to use AI technologies.


As an AI researcher for more than 40 years, who has been a consultant or participant in many government projects, I believe it’s worth noting that sometimes they’ve done it well – and other times not quite so well. The potential harms and benefits are significant...”


“...Other government uses of AI are being questioned, too – such as attempts at 'predictive policing,' setting bail amounts and criminal sentences and hiring government workers. All of these have been shown to be susceptible to technical issues and data limitations that can bias their decisions based on race, gender or cultural background.


Other AI technologies such as facial recognition, automated surveillance and mass data collection are raising real concerns about security, privacy, fairness and accuracy in a democratic society....”


“...As the use of AI technologies grows, whether originally well-meant or deliberately authoritarian, the potential for abuse increases as well. With no currently existing government-wide oversight in place in the U.S., the best way to avoid these abuses is teaching the public about the appropriate uses of AI by way of conversation between scientists, concerned citizens and public administrators to help determine when and where it is inappropriate to deploy these powerful new tools.”


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Professor James Hendler is the Director of the Institute for Data Exploration and Applications at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is available to speak with media – simply click on his icon to arrange an interview.




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  • James Hendler
    James Hendler Director, Institute for Data Exploration and Applications

    Leading researcher in the Semantic Web and artificial intelligence

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