Policy Brief  

How AI Fails Us

Researchers and funders should redirect focus from centralized autonomous general intelligence to a plurality of established and emerging approaches that extend cooperative and augmentative traditions as seen in successes such as Taiwan’s digital democracy project to collective intelligence platforms like Wikipedia.

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The dominant vision of artificial intelligence imagines a future of large-scale autonomous systems outperforming humans in an increasing range of fields. This “actually existing AI” vision misconstrues intelligence as autonomous rather than social and relational. It is both unproductive and dangerous, optimizing for artificial metrics of human replication rather than for systemic augmentation, and tending to concentrate power, resources, and decision-making in an engineering elite.  Alternative visions based on participating in and augmenting human creativity and cooperation have a long history and underlie many celebrated digital technologies such as personal computers and the internet.  Researchers and funders should redirect focus from centralized autonomous general intelligence to a plurality of established and emerging approaches that extend cooperative and augmentative traditions as seen in successes such as Taiwan’s digital democracy project to collective intelligence platforms like Wikipedia. We conclude with a concrete set of recommendations and a survey of alternative traditions.

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