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129 Meredith Broussard: Artificial Unintelligence

The book critiques the hype and misconceptions surrounding AI and argues for a more critical and nuanced understanding of its limitations and potential.

Meredith Broussard: Artificial Unintelligence


"Artificial Unintelligence" challenges the hype and overblown expectations surrounding artificial intelligence and machine learning, arguing that these technologies are not the magic solutions to all our problems that they are often touted to be. The book explores the ways in which AI can be biased, unreliable, and even dangerous, and urges a more critical and nuanced understanding of its capabilities and limitations. Drawing on examples from the fields of journalism, criminal justice, and healthcare, among others, the author highlights the ways in which algorithms can perpetuate and amplify existing inequalities and injustices. Ultimately, the book calls for a more thoughtful and responsible approach to AI, one that recognizes the importance of human expertise and ethical considerations in the development and deployment of these technologies.


Title: Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World

Author: Meredith Broussard

Publishing Year: 2019

Publisher: MIT Press

Length in hours: 7 hours and 46 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. AI and machine learning are not magic solutions to all our problems and must be approached with a critical and nuanced perspective.
  2. The hype and misconceptions surrounding AI can be dangerous and perpetuate existing inequalities and injustices.
  3. Bias and unreliability are inherent in many AI algorithms, and must be addressed through careful design and testing.
  4. Human expertise and ethical considerations are essential to ensuring the responsible development and deployment of AI technologies.
  5. The future of AI depends on our ability to recognize and address its limitations and potential, and to use it in ways that serve the common good.
Meredith Broussard: Artificial Unintelligence

5 funny quotes

  1. "Artificial intelligence is like a toddler with a calculator - it can do some impressive things, but it's still got a lot to learn."
  2. "The best way to test the intelligence of an AI is to ask it to explain a joke."
  3. "If we want to build truly intelligent machines, we need to start by teaching them to do laundry."
  4. "The biggest threat from AI is not a robot uprising, but the possibility of getting stuck in an infinite loop."
  5. "AI is like a genie in a bottle - it has the power to grant our wishes, but we need to be careful what we wish for."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "The problem with artificial intelligence isn't that it's artificial; it's that it's intelligent."
  2. "Artificial intelligence is not a silver bullet; it's a tool that can be used for good or for ill."
  3. "The hype around AI has led to a dangerous assumption that machines are infallible and human expertise is no longer needed."
  4. "Artificial intelligence is only as good as the data it's trained on, and that data is often biased and incomplete."
  5. "The promise of AI is not in replacing human intelligence, but in augmenting and amplifying it."

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing the need for efficiency and accuracy with the potential for bias and discrimination in algorithmic decision-making.
  2. Addressing the ethical and legal issues surrounding AI and autonomous systems, such as accountability and responsibility for their actions.
  3. Navigating the trade-offs between privacy and security in the age of big data and machine learning.
  4. Ensuring the transparency and explainability of AI systems, particularly in high-stakes domains such as criminal justice and healthcare.
  5. Managing the potential impacts of AI on jobs and the labor market, and ensuring a fair and equitable transition to a more automated economy.

5 examples

  1. Amazon's AI recruiting tool: The dangers of bias and discrimination in algorithmic decision-making.
  2. Microsoft's Tay chatbot: The risks of unchecked machine learning and the need for human oversight.
  3. Facebook's News Feed algorithm: The role of AI in shaping our online experiences and perceptions.
  4. Google's DeepMind AI: The potential for AI to make breakthroughs in scientific research and discovery.
  5. IBM's Watson AI: The benefits and limitations of machine learning in healthcare and medical diagnosis.

Referenced books

  1. "Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy" by Cathy O'Neil
  2. "Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor" by Virginia Eubanks
  3. "Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code" by Ruha Benjamin
  4. "Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet" by Yasha Levine
  5. "Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms" by Hannah Fry

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"The promise of AI is not in replacing human intelligence, but in augmenting and amplifying it."

Meredith Broussard: Artificial Unintelligence
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