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Most people do not like the feeling of being controlled. So much so, that the United States Declaration of Independence explicitly calls out the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Interestingly, the rapidly expanding applications of artificial intelligence (AI) have introduced new ways that machines control our lives that we may not even notice. The following three examples demonstrate ways that AI directly controls our lives today and in the near future.
1. Banks and other lending institutions have begun to use AI to determine whether or not you qualify for a loan and at what rate of interest to charge you for the loan. Today, many banks base loan decisions on FICO scores that reflect the borrower’s history of using credit, which includes their ability to assume debt and responsibly pay that debt down. Increasingly, Banks now have increasing access to AI tools that judge your credit worthiness based on a variety of measurements not at all related to your credit history. For example, a company from Singapore called Lenddo uses so called non-traditional measures such as behavior on social media, smartphone usage, and e-commerce purchases. According to an article by Diana Hope for smartdatacollective.com titled “How AI Is Transforming Lending And Loan Management”, Lenddo even measures how often people use one word email subject lines as an indication of how detail-oriented the borrower is or, in another case, Lenddo judges someone’s maturity level based on the ratio of selfies to non-selfies on their phone.
2. Health insurance companies continue to mop up a wide range of information about millions of Americans to better determine their health risks, insurability, and possible cost to the insurer. In “Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates,” by Marshal Allen for NPR, “The companies are tracking your race, education level, TV habits, marital status, net worth. They're collecting what you post on social media, whether you're behind on your bills, what you order online.” Your habits that companies track online and analyze with AI will directly affect your access to health insurance and determine what that insurance should cost.
3. AI increasingly has a say in whether you get hired for a job. Companies such as HireVue and Voicesense analyze job candidate responses to questions. But they not only analyze the quality of the answers but the tone of voice and even facial expressions when candidates agree to be videoed. The robotic screening compares all the data to ideal candidates for the best fit in the corporate culture, notes John McCormick for the Wall Street Journal in “What AI Can Tell from Listening to You.”
Humans need a sense of freedom and tend to bristle against control. Interestingly, as AI continues to expand into every sector of the market and society, people continue to give control over to machines to make choices such as loan eligibility and rate, health insurance cost, and even screening job candidates fit for the corporate culture based on their tone of voice and facial expressions. Such systems should not be blindly implemented because freedom lost often takes great effort to be regained.
Dr. Smith’s career in scientific and information research spans the areas of bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, toxicology, and chemistry. He has published a number of peer-reviewed scientific papers. He has worked over the past seventeen years developing advanced analytics, machine learning, and knowledge management tools to enable research and support high level decision making. Tim completed his Ph.D. in Toxicology at Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Washington.
You can buy his book on Amazon in paperback and in kindle format here.