Went to a program on Artificial Intelligence [AI] on Thursday at New York University. AI practitioners acknowledge that AI comes and goes as a serious trend. Is this forward and back motion media caused? Or is it related to advances that then hit a brick wall?
My guess is that it’s back because of big data. Big data=more learning material to train the intelligence. Or maybe it’s related to advances in robotics? How is robotics connected to AI other than also being a form of technology?
Technology-what a wonderful, slippery concept!
There is the politics of technology. This program was organized by the Obama administration which has been organizing these seminars to inform the public and get public input. As a New York moment, the program was framed by the Di Blasio administration; the Deputy Mayor who introduced the program reminded us that technology can drive economic development.
There is the economics of technology. Microsoft was there. Google was there. Facebook was there. Janus faced academic entrepreneurs were there.
There is the technology of technology. This discussion was basically generalities. Either you were supposed to come in with this knowledge or it’s proprietary.
There is the application of technology. Google presented on using AI for health care; there were references to driverless cars. This discussion also left me wanting more.
Then there is the sociology and culture of technology, the emphasis of this particular forum. At one point, I read and thought about these issues and hearing them discussed was an intellectual reunion. There was a classic discussion of whether AI was new technology. The discussion was also once technological determinism vs social construction of technology. The socials seem to have won. As part of this discussion, there was an explicit discussion of the equity of technology. How can AI promote diversity? How can AI help or be prevented from harming the people whose jobs will be taken? Someone said “there is no trickle down of AI.” “It has to be created.”
Finally there is the religion of technology or technology as religion. This forum announced that it was singularity free which makes it agnostic. Yet two speakers mentioned the singularity. And technology always has its priests.
As a result of this forum, Artificial Intelligence has been added to the list of issues I should know more about.

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