Professor Thomas Patterson, Harvard Kennedy School, President of AIWS University, presented
“Remaking the World: A Social Contract for the AI Age.” Here is his message:
While AI can do much good it can also do harm. AI entails risks, such as opaque decision-making, gender-based and other forms of discrimination, unwarranted intrusion in our private lives, and more. AI is making authoritarian regimes more durable. In the 1990s, the median life span of such regimes was roughly 10 years. Now it’s twice that long. A study by the Mass Mobilization Project found that the most durable authoritarian regimes are ones that utilize surveillance technology to track and control their people. Once people know that their government is tracking them, they become compliant.
Governments are not the only ones exploiting AI. So too, for example, are tech companies that manipulate people’s buying behavior and malicious actors who spread disinformation and discord.
Such concerns lead us to conclude that there is a need for a new social contract, one fitted to the AI age and that seeks to maximize the benefits of AI and minimize its exploitation. Without such guidelines, AI entails significant risks to the wellbeing of individuals and nations.