Episode 2: Solving for AI’s black box problem

Over the past 30 years, internet technologies have dramatically reshaped our world. Now we’re standing at the pioneering edge of artificial intelligence technologies, and AI is ushering in a new era. Despite the hype AI receives, nearly everyone would agree that AI is still very much an emergent technology, so it’s no surprise that many of us struggle to understand exactly what AI is, what AI can really do today, and what AI could potentially accomplish in the future.

How AI and automated decision-making tools can impact our everyday lives was the topic of a discussion between Stefano Maffulli, executive director of OSI, and Alek Tarkowski, strategy director of Open Future Foundation, a European think tank for the open movement. Tarkowski has over 15 years of experience with public interest advocacy, movement building, and research into the intersection of society, culture and digital technologies. He serves on the boards of Creative Commons, Centrum Cyfrowe and the Communia Association.

In this podcast, Maffulli and Tarkowski chat about the implications and ramifications (both good and bad) of AI in common life, exploring questions such as:

  • What does it mean that a machine, rather than a human, is determining if you can afford to buy a house, if you deserve parole, if you qualify for unemployment benefits, or where your child should go to school?
  • How are governments defending the public from bad decisions made by the so-called “black boxes” of AI?
  • What does the European regulatory push (including the Digital Markets Act, Digital Service Act, and the proposed AI Act) accomplish? In particular, what is the AI Act and why is it insufficient to the needs we face?
  • And since AI is fueled by data, how does the European strategy for regulating data impact citizens?
  • What is “social scoring” and why is it considered to be a dangerous threat to the rights of individuals?
  • Who are the various players in the current policy debates, and what are their motivations?
  • What rights shall we demand as citizens and what does the ideal future look like?
  • How can Open Source communities have a voice in and add value to these policy debates?

This discussion pulls the curtain back on the “magic” of AI, providing an enlightening look at how AI systems could easily go beyond being helpful to become a threat to individuals and our way of life. If you are curious why so many are raising red flags of warning, don’t miss this episode; you won’t consider all the talk about AI regulations and policy boring any more!

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In its Deep Dive: AI event, OSI is diving deep into the topics shaping the future of open source business, ethics and practice. Our goal is to help OSI stakeholders frame a conversation to discover what’s acceptable for AI systems to be “Open Source.” A key component of Deep Dive: AI is our podcast series, where we interview experts from academia, legal experts, policy makers, developers of commercial applications and non-profits.


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