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Joseph Stiglitz on artificial intelligence: ‘We’re going towards a more divided society’

“If we don’t change our overall economic and policy framework, what we’re going towards is greater wage inequality, greater income and wealth inequality and probably more unemployment and a more divided society. But none of this is inevitable,” he says. “By changing the rules, we could wind up with a richer society, with the fruits more equally divided, and quite possibly where people have a shorter working week. We’ve gone from a 60-hour working week to a 45-hour week and we could go to 30 or 25.”

Source: Sample, I. (2018).Joseph Stiglitz on artificial intelligence: ‘We’re going towards a more divided society’.

A good article on the benefits and potential pitfalls of increased automation as a result of AI across a range of industries, with plenty of links to more reading. Stiglitz provides plenty of room for optimism but at the same time urges that we make intentional choices about how these things play out. He specifically advises us (i.e. society) not to leave decision-making and regulation up to the private companies, who cannot be trusted (and have no incentives) to police themselves.

However, he does not seem to say unequivocally that we are “moving towards a more divided society”, and seems to spend more time focusing on issues of privacy and data protection for consumers in the face of corporate monopolisation. It’s a pity that an otherwise well-balanced piece is marred with the click-bait title.

By Michael Rowe

I'm a lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. I'm interested in technology, education and healthcare and look for places where these things meet.