OII London Lecture – Tomorrow’s Leviathan: Intelligent Machines in a Political World
Speakers: Professor Philip Howard
5 March 2019
When will an Artificial Intelligence run for elected office? This may seem like a strange provocation– just an invitation to futurism and speculation. Yet Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems are rolling out over many domains of economic, cultural and political life. They handle public policy and legal issues that humans find complex, mundane, time-consuming, or easily corrupted. They are purposefully designed to make the best possible decisions from vast quantities of information—we might hope a Prime Minister or President would adjudicate this way. But we need to move past abstract ethical problems, and be aware that we are choosing to apply AI systems to tangible social problems and politically sensitive issues. I argue that AIs are political by design, through the political values of their designers and the political nature of training data. AIs will validate some political ideas, and be pressed into service for political ideologies. In this talk, I show how AI is changing our experience of politics and rewriting democracy’s “terms of service”.
About the speakers
Philip N. Howard is the Director of the OII. He is a professor of sociology, information and international affairs. He is the author, most recently, of Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up.