Social issues and Artificial Intelligence
Human beings have always been afraid of new technologies, but that fear didn’t keep them from trying and creating new things. Research in artificial intelligence leapfrogged during the last decades, especially thanks to the advances in calculation speed (GPU and parallel computing) combined with Machine Learning and Deep Learning. Now, machines can learn by themselves from a great number of data (Big Data). This prospect and the more and more massive use of those technologies in the fields of industry, business and marketing make some people feel anxious1.
However, if we can implement an ethical use of data and artificial intelligence (see our article on the question), A.I technologies can answer to some social issues and improve the living and working conditions of the majority. Besides opening new job prospects thanks to new skills and abilities (only if companies are willing to do the digital transformation needed), A.I can reduce the treatment of repetitive and time-consuming tasks which leave more time for humans to be creative.
Those new technologies can also improve the overall living conditions through innovations that are useful for the greater good: thanks to computer vision in agricultural sector, productions have increased, providing more stocks. We also mentioned the importance of Big Data and A.I in the medical sector. In a related field, A.I can also be really useful for people with disabilities (speech to text and text to speech for mute and deaf people, for example). Thanks to sensors and scientific data analysis, it is possible to anticipate natural disasters.
A.I is a new social challenge, because we need to adapt to its reality and all the changes it is going to bring in our living and working lives. Social issues (help with employment, funding for social protection and pensions, for example) need to be considered in this technological disruption2. It is essential to understand that A.I can also be a useful social tool and bring some answers to some social issues encountered in our western countries. With A.I, we can set up adaptative learning, for example, which collects, anonymises and analyses students’ data to optimise their support and help the teacher to understand the difficulties met by his/her students. In the educational sector, A.I could allow a real personalised teaching which not only could highlight the students’ abilities, but also avoid school dropout.
Inequalities begin at school and with a proper framework, new technologies of A.I could reduce the social inequalities down the road.