Engström, Emma | 2022
In Hanemaayer, A. (editor) Artificial Intelligence and Its Discontents. Palgrave.
AI has often reached individuals covertly, rather than by their own choosing. Standard automatic version updates have enabled the infusion of AI in the form of deep learning into preexisting technologies such as mobile apps, websites, and software. All the most popular mobile apps, including YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat, have been AI-infused. This has allowed deep learning algorithms to train on behavioral data from billions of individuals. Infusion contrasts conscious user adoption of standalone AI-technologies that depend on AI for their main functionality, including robot vacuums and smart home devices, for instance.
This chapter examines the relationship between infusion and AI’s ethical challenges. AI is a different type of technology than earlier innovations; it has well-known shortcomings that include unpredictability, inadequate transparency, unequal treatment, a lack of common sense, and a risk for user manipulation. Because of infusion, it seems that people who want to (continue to) use popular online platforms often do not have a real choice when it comes to AI-exposure, but this may come with a threat to social values such as equality, respect, and autonomy. It seems that an urgent AI-related problem right now is not that some general AI is manipulating us—but that a supplier of narrow AI may be able to.