For almost a century, countries and regimes have developed and grown in scale to manage and utilize the growth offered by technological advancement, incrementally transforming both our natural and societal environment. However, while individual and societal potential and productivity are expanding, the processes that generate such activities are also becoming increasingly complex. The amount of data required for us to successfully manage and understand the issues are vast and difficult to comprehend. Rather than trying to ‘make ends meet’, that is result-focused, perhaps we would find more useful insights in trying to understand the underlying processes.
AI and Big Data, in this case, are conceptual tools with the potential to leverage this dilemma into motion.
Technology is like pandora’s box, while offering new possibilities, it also carry with it its own brand of inequality and abuse. It would also generate a new dilemma. Bridal explores this theme by pointing out in his book, a new dark age, that as new technology is adapted into society, though the problems it intended to solve might be mitigated, but the adaption of the technology itself transforms society, adding to the complexity that it set out to clarify.
As AI and Big Data are becoming more pervasive, we must ask ourselves, are we using the machines, or are we the product of a algorithmic regime? How is ‘free will’ conditioned under such circumstances?
To answer these questions, we must first understand how AI and Big Data affect us. Currently, it is difficult to truly say how these new technologies are affecting or going to affect us. The ability and usage of AI related technology is rapidly being explored and becoming increasingly pervasive.
Our author suggests that the problems lie in the way public discourse is shaped and rendered. By focusing on the results of obstructions, we neglect and forget how to address the actual underlying issues, which renders our society vulnerable to manipulation and incapable of constructing an effective dialogue between citizens and its governing institutions.
However, as stated before, we need AI because it can process information faster and better than us, but that leaves us in the dark, not able to know the full picture. This is the dark age Bridal is referring to, and it is also what we are trying to avoid. We must become architects of processes, using AI to our advantage, rather than passively relying on it. Thus, it is equally important for us to understand AI as it is trying to ‘understand’ us.