Edtech News Round Up: AI, Quantum Computing, And Free Will
How AI and quantum computing could affect human rights and free will.
AI raises several ethical and legal implications that are often not evident to the public.
Most of the threats that AI pose are rooted in the lack of transparency, accountability or safeguards in how they are designed.
AI poses a serious threat to privacy, a fundamental human right. Data is constantly being collected about us via our interactions in the digital environment. All this data is used together to build a user profile and predict behaviors.
This includes personal information about aspects of our personal lives such as our health or political persuasion. This data is often collected without our knowledge of who is going to use it or how it will be used.
There is a clear lack of diversity and inclusion in the design of AI systems as well. This is now a key concern as the decisions made based on these systems are not objective and could lead to the reinforcement of discrimination and prejudices.
Some studies suggest that these biased algorithms could discriminate against women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and LGBTI communities. For example, some search engines are more likely to display adverts for high-paid jobs to male job seekers rather than to females.
AI also poses a threat to the freedom of expression. Facebook and Youtube, for instance, have the ability to filter content. However, there is no information for users on the process of how decisions are made about unsuitable content. The lack of transparency around content moderation raises concerns on the ability of AI to restrict free speech.
But increasing transparency starts with education. Teaching people today about the dangers that AI poses would likely lead to more accountability and safeguards in its development.
On Tuesday the justice department and education department of the Trump administration rescinded seven separate documents on affirmative action that were put in place by the Obama administration.
The documents were to be used as a guide by colleges admissions in how they can legally consider race and ethnicity in admissions decisions, consistent with several supreme court decisions.
The main guidance document outlined diversity as an important educational goal for colleges and schools. It stated that colleges should be able to use a variety of methods to achieve diversity.
The Obama administration saw the benefits of diversity as a great contributor to the educational, economic, and civic life of the US. However, the two departments decided that these guidance documents on affirmative action went beyond the requirements of the constitution.
In addition, they decided that taking action or not taking action in admission decisions based on these documents went beyond legal requirements. Therefore, stating that the Obama administration guidance documents were inconsistent with governing principles for agency guidance documents.
Quantum computing is based on a quantum-physics principle that a particle may be in two states at once as long it doesn’t leave a trace of either state. In traditional computing, computers are restrained to values of zero or one.
A quantum computer would be able to have both of these values simultaneously. This would lead to much faster and powerful computing and processing.
According to Mordechai Segev, a physics professor at Technion Israel Institute of Technology, it is possible that a quantum computer will be here within our lifetime and will work better than any traditional computer.
Quantum computing has the potential to bring improvements to problem-solving. However, some believe that quantum computing could be the end of free will.
Daniel Zajfam, the president of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, proposed one major question. Can we really create a system that would be able to make everything predictable?
Physics is based on cause and effect. If a computer was given enough processing power and was fed enough detail it would calculate the most logical outcome. Essentially, it could predict the future.
The theory of chaotic behavior complicates this system of cause and effect. According to the theory, there is something inherent in nature that creates systems and is by definition chaotic. One tiny change could throw off the cause an effect status quo and lead to new, unpredictable outcomes.
As a result, predicting the future with perfect accuracy is almost impossible, making our free will safe… for now.