Hidden Costs

La Voz de Galicia – December 15, 2023 →

Cristina PatoThese days, reading the book Atlas of IA by Kate Crawford, I realized my own ignorance about the «hidden costs» of artificial intelligence because I was not aware of the natural resources necessary to make it possible, or of the precariousness of labor there is behind it. Crawford is one of the most important researchers in the field of the social and political implications of AI, and her book is really an atlas to understand the consequences there are for human beings and for the planet, a technology that «perpetuates power and its social and cultural biases.»

The author shows how AI «is not an objective or neutral technology that makes determinations without human direction,» and arrives at the conclusion that its systems «are designed to discriminate and amplify hierarchies.» The book also talks about Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing platform that allows for the outsourcing of workers via the internet who will take care of tasks that are more complex for computers than for humans, such as the regulation of content or image recognition. A name that comes from the Hungarian Wolfgang von Kempelen who, in 1769 invented the Mechanical Turk, a «Turkish» automaton that played chess and that for years made the public believe that what made it win the matches was its «artificial intelligence» and not the fact that there was a person hidden inside the invention. Just like Amazon’s system.

There is much yet to learn about his moment in our existence, but each day I am more conscious of how important it is to try to understand what this «tool» means for the present and the future of humanity even if there is nothing we can do to stop it.

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