Talk for Article "Emerging questions about artificial intelligence"

Talk about this Article

  1. “As always, it is not all doom and gloom”… could be “As always, the picture is not all doom and gloom”…. Otherwise, what is “it” here?

  2. “increased manifold”? This sounds … not right. First, I think an adverb should go here. But “manifoldly” is not it. I think “increased considerably” would do it, at the expense of sounding less… panicked.

  3. Hi Arjun, it would be great to publish this week. Could you put in the link to the Economic Times story or stories you are quoting? Also if you could hyperlink some references to good sources for “propel the Indian economy to become one of the fastest growing countries in the world”
    “Some people have gone further to state that almost all jobs ..”
    We can make a more fact-based headline from your final draft.
    That would be great. You can see there’s been a lot of interest in this article.

    1. Hello Angela,

      I will complete it tonight. I was very busy with work as its monsoon season in India and I deal with fertilisers.


    2. Hello Angela,

      I have written the basic outline,if you can give me some suggestions as to what to change it would be great. I tried adding some more sources, but some sources were saved and some werent. Is there a specific method to insert hyperlinks?


      1. Hi Arjun, I’ll read that now. The hyperlinks are just inserted via the little paper-clip button you see in the WordPress editing screen. Fourth from right on the editing tools line. It can be flippy, which you might have experienced – sometimes the links don’t go in the first time ‘Attach’ is pressed. Just try again. If you’re having trouble you can paste the links in to the sources screen with a few words about where they fit in the story.

        1. Hi Angela,

          I am adding the additional sources here as its not allowing me to post,

          The IT industry propel to growth part is from here –

          Universal basic income is explained here –

          The missing economic times article about the reduction of IT jobs in India is here –

          Self driving technology –

  4. Below I’m quite harsh about getting more evidence into this article, but I truly believe this will be worth it. If you need help with it or are happy for me to go in and make changes then please let me know. My background is in research and not journalism, so I’m slightly biased 🙂

    > Artificial intelligence, or AI for short, has created quite a buzz in the last decade

    Please note that AI has made several rounds under different names, one was Cybernetics for example [1]. AI is only the most recent buzz word.

    > the noise has suddenly increased manifold in the last year or two.

    It’s worth providing a citation or reference for why you believe it’s increased in the last year or two. From my perspective progress has slowed down slightly (after deep neural networks, it’s currently a matter of application) and AI has had tonnes of media coverage. Are you possibly referring to it’s more wide-spread adoption in industry?

    > University of Oxford Martin Institute in 2013 estimated that half of all US jobs could be made obsolete in the coming years.

    Put a date on it otherwise the real urgency is lost. In the working paper’s conclusion: “We refer to these as jobs at risk – i.e. jobs we expect could be automated relatively soon, perhaps over the next decade or two.”.

    > Some people have gone further to state that almost all jobs which require repetition and number crunching could become fair game for AI and be liable for replacement.

    Cite at least one quote, otherwise it’s hearsay. I’ve hard similar, but I can’t think up any references off the top of my head.

    >What’s different about the current wave of automation is that the combination of advanced mobile robotics and sensors and sophisticated machine learning algorithms and neural networks will allow for the automation of both cognitive and manual, repetitive and non-repetitive tasks.

    This is several ideas rolled into one sentence. Advancements in robotics, mainly from having better hardware (batteries, actuators, sensors, computing) has propelled certain types of automation. Machine learning, specifically deep learning has pushed AI towards a deeper understanding (although is still largely flawed and doesn’t abstract the data enough yet). Robotic automation advancements and software automation advancements mean that AI is now able to compete better physically and “mentally”, the difference perhaps being better at putting arbitrary parts together on a factory floor – all the way to being able to have chat bots as alternative help to call centers.

    Another thing that AI is now benefiting from is large amounts of data, both from open-data and data from users. The better the quality of the data, the easier AI can use it, which is why advancements by data scientists has been so fruitful.

    I think it’s worth separating out these ideas and making it clear the reader exactly why this all seems to be happening at once and why there is more potential now for large amounts of change.

    It’s also possible this AI bubble collapses, AI researchers struggle get funding and make advances and another AI winter happens where little progress is made.


    What I really wanted to be able to do was leave suggestions/comments in the article itself – that way somebody could choose whether to accept my suggestions or reject them. I can perhaps go through the article so far and add something like `[comment here]`?


    1. I am in the process of updating references, I have added some new material and after work today shall go in and try to finish up this thing. you are welcome to attach your suggestions in the comments section, I am new to this so it is easier for a newbie like me to go through what people are saying in the comments section since it is very handy. Its not harsh if its constructive.

      Just write what you have and we can talk about it.

  5. Some possible contacts: Imogen Parker at the Ada Lovelace Institute, an initiative of the Nuffield Foundation “to build a shared understanding of the ethical questions raised by the application of data, algorithms, and artificial intelligence (AI)”

    1. Hello,

      Thank you for that. How should one go about that? As in contacting the person there? I did not see an email address which might be his/hers.

    1. I am re-writing the piece I had written and found new sources as the title was changed and had to be re-written.

      I will upload it today to see what the editors think.

      1. Good morning,
        I am Claudia and currently on work experience at Wikitribune. I have contacted a few experts on the topic to help the community and to have new insights about it.
        One expert from Cambridge is willing to meet for an interview tomorrow, and I was thinking we could discuss together interesting questions we could ask him.

        1. Hello,

          Thank you for the reply. I am new to this whole thing so I have been reading the wiki tribune guides since yesterday just to make sure I understand what is good form to put up an article here, which is why I was rewording everything. What sort of things do you have in mind? Should I write to you what I have been thinking about and want to know more – to which you can add and then discuss with the expert?

          Please let me know.

          1. Yes, I think it would be great if you write up what you were thinking and what you would be interested to know more about. I will add my input and create a set of questions.
            Thank you!

            1. Where Artificial Intelligence is going with respect to FULL AI(strong AI), if that is at all possible in the near future. What sort of jobs will be affected the most due to AI being quickly adopted into the workforce?

              What thoughts Govt.’s around the world have on the future of work and how they manage social cohesion. This, ties into UBI and whether any one has considered the possibility of UBI causing social unrest due to the inherent inequality built into the system (few people at the top owning the assets and paying a small amount per person to sustain them).

              Right now in the Indian context, where I am based, jobs in the IT and BPO sector are reducing by the day and the jobs which are growing are in the field of AI and automation along with digital services. The IT industry has an outsized impact on the economies of many countries, especially the ones which depend on exports like India. So, this fast -tracked implementation of automation will have a very material impact on jobs in the very near future.
              These are the basic emerging concerns which I find are most important right now, as a layman.

              These are some of the concerns which I have personally and can find credible sources for to substantiate my claims. Please let me know what you think.
              Thank You!

              1. Thank you for this. I think this is good concerns to explore and I will definitely discuss them at the interview tomorrow.
                To these insights, I will probably add a discussion about where do citizens stand in this debate, as well as AI’s potential creating new demand for services in some sectors.

                1. Hello,

                  Thank you for the reply. I will wait for your inputs tomorrow. Then the thing will have expert input and be balanced.


              2. Hey @Arjun Chatterjee – could you add your questions to the main text body so that people could take a look and potentially start answering them or adding questions not thought of yet?

                For example, regarding the Indian context – if possible it might be cool to find several key economies around the world and probe about their plans to tackle this issue. Or even areas that are experiencing this AI boom differently.

                1. Hello,

                  I have started off the thing and was waiting for comments on the questions i had posted to Claudia. I am gathering some more sources myself.

                  1. Good afternoon,

                    I just posted the interview I conducted with an academic last Friday. You can find it in sources.
                    I believe it brings us an interesting viewpoint on some of the questions you raised and helps us reflect on new ones.
                    I am currently trying to reach out to other experts on the topic. Let me know if you have any questions.

                    1. Hello Claudia,

                      The interview was pretty amazing since you got to ask an expert first hand. I have found some interesting things which I will link and now finish up writing what I think so others can improve on it and add more if they wish. I liked the lower level legal and journalist jobs being automated question you put to the expert.




                      Its quite staggering where we are with computers now even if the AI jobapocalypse never materialises (hopefully).

  6. At this moment, the story doesn’t seem to have any text. But the discussion below seems to suggest to me that there used to be some text? Did it get lost in the software changes?

    Separately from that, I’d like to suggest a more neutral headline. This headline suggests something that will be hard to prove (because it probably isn’t true): that there are difficult questions about AI that are being asked privately (by experts, presumably) but that they only talk about privately, not in public places. If that is true (not likely), then we’ll have a hard time writing about them because we’ll have no sources.

    I suppose what we’re really getting at is something like: “Emerging questions about AI” – questions that are emerging in the academic literature, but which have not yet made it into consumer media. That’s something we can do, and of course it’s quite interesting.

    1. Thank you sir for commenting on this potential article. I tried uploading what i wrote when i started this topic, but there seemed to be a problem and it didnt upload. I am working on a new draft in word which can be saved, thankfully.

      “Emerging questions about AI” is precisely what i was trying to get at. Only that the professionals were talking about AI in their respected fields, so I just wanted to connect them and see what can be made out of it.

      1. Thanks Arjun. Looking forward to your story and I’ll tweak the working headline to “Emerging questions about Artificial Intelligence” now.

        1. I think this is now possibly too broad still. From what we’ve discussed, @Arjun Chatterjee is specifically interested in how AI will push civilization towards UBI and the results of that.

          The title probably needs both “Universal Basic Income” and “Artificial Intelligence” in there, but I can’t think of a punchy way to get that across.

          I don’t quite like this, but: “Universal Basic Income – A Potential Answer To AI?”. At least this way it makes it clear what it’s about, the fact we don’t have a definitive answer and the fact we are likely to explore several avenues.

          1. I suppose you are right that there are other emerging questions about AI development. But I feel that this particular issue is by far the most important at this time, especially from the point of view of the general public.

            I feel that questions about UBI and job losses to automation are the most important emerging questions about AI. I am not a real expert, lets just say an avid hobbyist, but I follow all developments and read a lot about this and to me this seems to be the biggest concern with AI we currently face as a society.

            There are rumblings in the tech community that there might be another AI winter on the way. See this article for an example.

            I am not entirely sure the article is right, but whether it is or not, the developments that we have made in the most recent wave of AI progress threaten vast numbers of jobs, even if it stops for a while at this point. We should be focusing on those because they are not speculative but relatively certain. The prime example is driverless vehicles. If you add up all the people driving vehicles for a living – truck drivers, taxi drivers, bus drivers, delivery people, it adds up to a lot. If all of those people are gradually made redundant over the course of a decade it will be hard to adjust. Especially in a world economy that is already dealing with high unemplyment, increasing poverty in many countries, and widespread political disenfranchisement. Driverless cars are far from the only example.

            If we have a sudden increase in unemployment, and people that can’t feed their families, and don’t feel represented by the political order, that could lead to serious social unrest. Additionally this will be happening in the richer developed nations to a greater extent than the less developed ones. This leads to a situation where the nations that currently hold geopolitical control in the world all suffer internal turmoil at the same time. It is very hard to predict how that would shake out if it happens.

            The changes that are likely to come might be extremely destabilising to the entire world order and need to be examined and planned for. I think this article is an excellent contribution to that, and I look forward to seeing it develop.

      2. When you have some rough titles or placeholders for directions you want to take this in – could upload those please? I *may* know some experts in the right areas that could comment on these points.

        1. Hello,
          The main reason I really got into researching AI and its impact on humans was the UBI angle, how do we really manage the staggering level of job losses that is predicted by the experts.

          Solid middle class and entry level jobs are what keep any economy alive. The high level jobs will always be there, but how do we provide for people who are just coming into the work force? An entry level job at Mcdonalds might not be a career, but it gives a young person a start in life and teaches them important skills to apply in “real” jobs later in the future.

          I feel that the loss of middle class and entry level jobs is the most concerning topic in the AI and employment debate. It is the most likely sector which will become automated in the future.

          UBI feels like a perfect solution to this, but in my opinion, it would only create resentment because only a handful of people will dictate everything and the rest of would have to make do with crumbs.

          Essentially, these are the two important aspects I would like to know more about.

  7. Thats exactly what I am thinking about. Just a thought of how to leverage technology to help people be more productive and create more jobs, this self driving technology might be good for bomb disposal, extra terrestrial work,etc. Creating technology to replace people will not end well.

    I am thinking of a framework to put it in a better form.

    AI right now is preventing me from commenting saying it had detected a duplicate comment. Quite scary.

  8. I have read several questions in media and books.

    Are there any questions that we are not asking?

    1. The “at least publicly” part probably answers your question. If you think the stuff mentioned in the other thread (regarding UBI) is being mentioned a lot in popular media, for my sake please link to some articles 🙂

      1. B Array, admittedly I have not seen anyone connecting the AI-UBI discussion to mass disgruntlement from inequality.

        So perhaps that is a good place to start?

        Mass disgruntlement in itself, or rather the lack thereof, however, has been debated among political scientist. Inequality is rising very fast without any AI-UBI connection.

        Political Scientists have pointed out that historically, the very high GINI-inequality numbers of today have led to revolutions. Not so today.

        This time around, it may be that the disgruntlement has tried to find others to blame , and may have contributed to the rise of populism.

        Perhaps the topic of AI-UBI to Inequality resentment should take into account previous discussions from political scientists? Admittedly, most political scientists only express surprise. The discussion there is not deeper than that.

        1. >So perhaps that is a good place to start?

          I think so, I think @Arjun Chatterjee has a good subject.

          >Perhaps the topic of AI-UBI to Inequality resentment should take into account previous discussions from political scientists?

          Yes. UBI and AI has only recently become something even worth considering, but the threat is now real.

          As for the current levels of inequality – yes they are larger now, but also the baseline of living quality has risen considerably too. I need to do some research into the area, but I wouldn’t completely rule this out as a possibility yet.

  9. What’s the direction of this piece? What questions aren’t we asking?

    I would be interested in working on this piece depending on what those answers are. I have multiple sources in this area as well, who offer some very cutting edge solutions to some problems the media are not yet even considering, let alone discussing.

    1. I got busy with it but, I was talking about the headlong rush towards everything artificial intelligence. Self driving cars, being the primary focus. I welcome additions to this as I am really keen on this topic. I will be writing about this tomorrow.

      1. I think there are many ways to tackle this, I’m definitely interested to learn what direction you plan to take. If you could pad out some TODOs/headers/bullets that clearly state the direction you want to take the article I would be much obliged.

        You have the over investment into AI – Apple, Google, Amazon, IBM, Intel, NVidia, etc – massive R&D into AI. You also have Japan effectively gambling it’s economy in the area and how well that’s going. The Chinese Government is also investing heavily into AI (i.e. surveillance), which isn’t too different from the work by large companies such as Google/Youtube and Facebook. An economic bubble seems to be forming around this area and it could threaten long term research into the area.

        You have the multiple examples of how AI was supposed to change different areas, but the new breakthroughs ended up changing them completely unexpectedly. A future breakthrough might not necessarily help in areas that are currently heavily investigated.

        Several projects exist to push forwards AI, including: OpenAI, DARPA Challenge, RoboCup, etc. Could talk about these and their contributions towards AI.

        Then you also have this grand vision of truly intelligent machines, how scared people are (there’s open letter somewhere) and how we currently don’t have a system in place to handle it. There are several books discussing the area and several experts who could wade in.

        1. Actually, the UBI (universal basic income) scheme launched in Finland as an experiment piqued my interest in this topic.

          I will explain how it ties into AI. One of the biggest fears of self driving cars and AI in general is the massive job loss that would ensue if AI were to become a reality. Proponents of AI say that it will only spurr on Govt.’s to manage job loss using UBI.

          But the question no one is asking is how does a job – the feeling of being employed and productive play into the human psyche?

          Also, in the case of UBI, it can only work if everyone was on UBI. If we started with a blank slate. That will never happen of course. So let us take this scenario. Google comes up with AI and Uber uses it to replace human drivers with computers. Massive job losses ensue and govt. moves to placate displaces employees by giving them a hand out. noe imagine if AI replaces millions of jobs, everybody who was earning or had the possibility to earn will know that they will only get handout. Now, they see that companies who own the AI – the 1% of the future are rolling in the Benjamin’s while the plebs are having to make do with the crumbs.

          It will create mass scale resentment and will lead to social problems at an unimaginable scale.

          Just a few thoughts.

          1. Interesting idea, I’m not sure what I have to contribute though. I could certainly think of a few other scenarios as to how we get into social unrest, like for example over-investment into technologies that loosely promise growth, yet another technology bubble (and subsequent crash), over use of AI to monitor/select employees for roles, etc.

            As for UBI, there’s already examples of how this can cause unrest. In the UK for example there is a “benefits” system where those who do not work are entitled to a very low income as a means to survive. This in turn has created a resentment from richer people. You also only have to look at Catalonia to see how a richer group of people would want to divorce a poorer group of people.

            Another point is what happens if Countries decide not to role out UBI? It’s not unheard of to have the poorest literally starving whilst the rich prosper – just look at Russia’s “let them starve” campaign. Are we also creeping towards mass genocide? What could be done to prevent it?

            1. Thats exactly what I am thinking about. Just a thought of how to leverage technology to help people be more productive and create more jobs, this self driving technology might be good for bomb disposal, extra terrestrial work,etc. Creating technology to replace people will not end well.

              I am thinking of a framework to put it in a better form.

              1. It’s great to read this really interesting chat everyone. I’m looking forward to reading this, and let us know if there’s anything you’d like us in the office to do or help with…

                1. Thank you Ed, any inputs from professionals such as your self will enhance whatever regular people like us come up with.

                  I would love to hear your comments on this, or if you know anyone else talking about this and if any links are available to those stories.

                  This topic has been gnawing at me for a while now and after reading about the Finland experiment I wanted to really find out more about the issue and if anyone was even considering the un-measurable human impact of these changes.

                  I am putting up a draft on word as I write this, I would be grateful if you would have a look at it.

                  1. We’re here to help, that’s exactly why we’re here.

                    Excellent. When you’ve finished your draft, put it in the system and we’ll take a look.

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