May 1, 2019 in Data Protection

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence

Evolution of man

Have you noticed how Artificial Intelligence has crept up on us all. If you saw Terminator 2 when it came out it all seemed so unreal and futuristic. Now so many aspects of our lives are governed by A.I.

This weekend the Sunday Times had a story about how you would no longer need to produce your passport at every stage at Heathrow. You would go onto a facial recognition system and then be identified at every stage. In the USA apparently you go onto a central system and pop up whenever you go flying. To think people objected to Identity Cards when they can now follow you without you even being aware of this.

In China the use of facial recognition technology is wisely used to keep trace of their citizens. The ‘Sharp Eyes’ system correlates security cameras in public and private places and a national database of faces. At KFC in Hangzhou customers can buy chicken nuggets by smiling at the camera. Chinese police use face recognition to spot suspects and monitor undesirables.

You will have seen the US TV series where people are identified in a moment by running their photo against a data base. Even in the UK police, especially in London ,are using the technology to scan crowds for people of interest. This use will only increase.

We are increasingly warned that many jobs will be lost and replaced by A.I. in the near future. Unlike the past these will include professional and highly trained jobs such as accountancy and legal positions. It is now standard to use A.I. to assess loan and mortgage applications according to set rules. You can be declined without your application ever seeing a human face.

There is increasing concern about the regulation of A.I. As with anything new it takes time for these things to catch up and there is a distinct lack of rules.

There is a tendency to assume that because A.I. is supposedly a mathematical objective process it is never wrong. Who is monitoring the decisions made? Further the decisions are often so complex that a mere human cannot check the decision one way or another.

Some efforts are being made to establish rules on these issues . Some A.I. procedures are covered by GDPR but there is some way to go.