Mar 13, 2019

AI and groupthink

Photo: Tatyana Makeyeva/TASS/Getty

A central promise of artificial intelligence is to automate away tedious routine tasks, but a lingering worry is that it will chip away at our humanity, causing people to lean on computers to the detriment of their ability to think critically.

Catch up quick: A new survey from the PR firm Edelman, conducted last summer with 1,000 Americans, shows widespread worry around the social effects of swiftly advancing AI.

  • 74% said "intelligent and human-like" devices will lessen the need for interactions with other people and lead to more isolation.
  • 67% said AI increases the possibility of "digitally enhanced group think, lessening creativity and freedom of thought."
  • 71% said AI will lead to a "dumbing down of people."
"People tend to trust the information they are presented by their digital devices, and it’s possible with AI — given the vast amounts of personal data that drive those systems — to steadily persuade individuals and entire groups to a certain point of view."
Gary Grossman, head of Edelman's AI center

Go deeper

What we know: Deadly Storm Dennis whips at England, Wales and Ireland

Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.

At least two deaths are being attributed to Storm Dennis on Monday as it continues to strike at parts of England, Wales and Ireland, per AccuWeather.

The big picture: Dennis is the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains have caused widespread flooding across the United Kingdom. The army has been deployed in the U.K. to help with flood relief.

Go deeperArrow23 mins ago - Science

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.