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Artificial intelligence technologies can reinforce inequalities

20 May 2021 James Dacey

Computer technologies are often viewed as inanimate tools for improving our lives. Yes, there have always been issues around access, and there have always been some people who have used computers for harmful purposes. But the technology itself has always been considered to be free from human biases. This video explains why the concept of computer neutrality is no longer feasible.

We’re living in an age of digital information, where algorithms underpin many aspects of our lives. Increasingly, private companies and public authorities are using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to make processes more effective. But in practice, the technologies are built by humans so their designs and functioning can reflect existing inequalities in society.

Physicists also use AI and machine learning in academic research, and many tech companies hire physicists. For these reasons, physicists can play a key role in better understanding the issues and regulating these emerging technologies. To find out more take a look at the article “Fighting algorithmic bias in artificial intelligence“, originally published in the May 2021 issue of Physics World.

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