Copyright: Public Domain / Used With Permission

We must regulate artificial intelligence because – well, according to the Fabians we must regulate artificial intelligence because. Their argument being that it produces results they don’t like so they must get to regulate it to produce results that they do like.

This is all dressed up in the usual feminist arguments. It’s largely men who do the AI coding, largely white men to boot. Therefore that coding will encapsulate their innate prejudices and this would be bad. They do mention the idea that perhaps women could be doing more of the coding then reject it on, I assume, the grounds that math is hard. Instead the insistence becomes that women – more specifically, women who share the Fabian outlook – should be able to tell those white men what to code into AIs.

This is all backed up by this example of how current AI is wrong:

What if the workforce designing those algorithms is male-dominated? This is the first major problem: the lack of female scientists and, even worse, the lack of true intersectional thinking behind the creation of algorithms.

Examples of bias were reported by the Guardian a few years back, showing that searching Google for the phrase “unprofessional hairstyles for work” led to images of mainly black women with natural hair, while searching for “professional hairstyles” offered pictures of coiffed white women.

The thing is there’s nothing wrong with that coding. Sure, it might not reflect the society we’d like to have but it’s a pretty good representation of the one we do have. Vast afros are thought to be unprofessional for work, a tight coiled bun is thought to be more so.

No, stop, do not start thinking about how that’s not the way it should be. I agree entirely that it shouldn’t. But is that a useful outline of how current society works? Yep, it is. So, those white male AI coders haven’t made some dreadful mistake there, we’ve got a reasonable approximation to how our society does work today.

It’s entirely true that if one or other line of thinking, political or social philosophy, manages to gain control of the AI coding then the AIs will work in different ways. They might even reflect the society wished for by that philosophy. They’ll also not be very useful and will therefore die off as they’ll not reflect nor manage to work in the reality we inhabit. They’ll die because we’re never going to give absolute power over all AIs to just the one group and therefore those that don’t work will die as they are outcompeted.

The Fabian demand is that AIs should be built to reflect their desired world. Which has two problems, the first being that not all share their desires. The second and much more important one being that AIs designed to their desired world won’t work in this extant world – an AI that doesn’t work not being all that useful.