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“If social media giants deem it necessary to police their algorithms, it matters even more for high-stakes algorithms such as driverless cars or medicine,” says Nesta’s chief executive Geoff Mulgan.
An industry that has used robots for decades and is now embracing co-bots is perhaps the best role model of how we should treat autonomous systems.
Unlike traditional rules-based AI, which provides “intelligent” answers based on an ability to crunch mathematical formulae, learning algorithms based on neural networks can be opaque and impossible to reverse engineer, he explains.
Neural networks are self-organising in the quest to find patterns in unstructured data.
Earlier this year, the EU voted to legislate around non-traceable AI, including a proposal for an insurance system to cover shared liability by all parties.
The online pension advice provider uses AI and plans to use chatbots, but complies with the Financial Conduct Authority, says chief technology officer Peet Denny.
His concerns chime with the findings of a 2017 report, rule”, making it illegal for chatbots and virtual assistants to conceal their identity.
A cause for even greater concern, however, might be chatbots fronting an AI application capable of interpreting emotions.
Manufacturers are installing more intelligent robots on the factory floor and Ian Joesbury, director at Vendigital, anticipates a mixed workforce in the future.
“Skilled technicians will work alongside a co-bot that does the heavy lifting and quality assurance,” he says.
What if board executives are duped by hostile chatbots and act on misinformation?