Hello World: How to Be Human in the Age of the Machine (by Hannah Fry)

42.cx Book Review, Kurt Hornburg, November 13th 2019

In Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller’s new book “Narrative Economics”, Shiller advocates ‘stories do still matter’ – that narratives based on fact or fiction can go viral and influence the actions of consumers and firms. Hence, economists should pay more attention to people’s narratives and be better story tellers themselves. Hannah Fry, a Professor in mathematics at University College London, uses stories effectively in her entertaining and accessible book about data and algorithms.

Ms. Fry gives an example from her mathematics of cities research. Robert Moses was one of the most influential city planners. One might say he was the master builder and power broker of New York City. One of his creations was the beautiful, world famous Jones Beach Park, built in the 1920’s. The beach is less than 20 miles from New York and accessible by roads with a series of extremely low bridges. These low bridges with 9-foot clearance were allegedly planned by Moses to restrict buses, which require 12-foot clearance. However, this design made bus access difficult for minorities and poor visitors, who did not own a car. Thus, the extremely low bridges acted as a filter…while preserving the park for white and wealthy visitors who could more easily access the beach by car.

Ms. Fry uses this real-world example to illustrate a point; AI algorithms can be inadvertently or purposely designed to filter access and they can have unintended consequences. Algorithms can concentrate power and there are always humans behind AI algorithms.

In her chapter on Data she provides a brief overview of the trade-off of free services in exchange for our data and the implications of this asymmetrical relationship with Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon (GAFA). If readers are interested in this topic, the recently published book, “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” by Shoshana Zuboff, provides a comprehensive examination of how our behavioral data is used to predict and potentially control our behavior.

The collection and exchange of personal data by data brokers is controversial. A new law in Virginia, USA, requires all data brokers to register with the state. An article in Fast Company, ‘Landmark Law Nudges over 120 data brokers out of the shadows’, documents the extent of data collection. In Europe, the GDPR principal, ‘purpose limitation’, requires a clearly stated purpose at the time the data is collected. However, the initial, stated purpose of processing often changes as new insights are discovered as a result of AI analysis. How this principal is interpreted and enforced by the EU, could have significant implications for IOT and AI services.

Furthermore, the book explains the paradox of algorithm aversion, “…we have a tendency to over-trust anything we don’t understand…however, as soon as we know the algorithm can make mistakes, we revert to our own flawed judgement”. This is despite the fact that evidence-based algorithms will make fewer errors and more accurate predictions than human forecasters. People want algorithms to be perfect and are much more critical of machine errors yet are more forgiving of human errors. Research on, ‘why people don’t trust algorithms’, done by Professors Massey and Simmons at Wharton, shows interesting results; giving people some element of control, increases trust and acceptance.

Ms. Fry, as a mathematics Professor, is enthusiastic about AI. The latter part of the book uses examples to illustrate both the potential benefits as well as the challenges of AI use in crime, cars, medicine and art. The concepts of sensitivity / false positives and specificity / false negatives, in the context of cancer medical screening is explained for a non-technologist. “The problem is that in developing an algorithm often means making a choice between sensitivity and specificity”. When sensitivity is improved, specificity decreases, and these types of trade-offs have real implications for individuals.

Another challenge for AI applications in medicine is that the stakeholders can have multiple objectives, which in turn raise fundamental ethical AI questions. Parties in medicine include private insurers, national insurers, hospitals, the individual etc. and each has a slightly different agenda. If AI is used to recommend treatment, what is the objective? It is ostensibly to give individuals the best treatment, however other parties want to minimize the cost of treatment.

The section on autonomous vehicles includes another discussion of ethics posing the question, ‘So should your driverless car hit a pedestrian to save your life?’ A Mercedes spokesperson answered, “If you know you can save at least one person, at least save that one”. This is a choice between two evils. The answer generated lots of controversy. The author reflects on driver-assisted autos, “At the heart of this new technology – as with almost all algorithms – are questions about power, expectation, control and delegations of responsibility.”

The conclusion comes back to the sub-title of the book, ‘How to be Human in the Age of the Machine’. The author provides this thought-provoking vision; “(…) this is the future I’m hoping for…one where we stop seeing machines as objective masters and start treating them as we would any other source of power. By questioning their decisions; scrutinizing their motives; acknowledging our emotions; demanding to know who stands to benefit; holding them accountable for their mistakes; and refusing to become complacent.”



42.cx, November 15th 2019

42.cx @ DIGICON 2019 in Munich

Once again 350 renowned participants from the areas of business, science and politics are expected at the 2019 DIGICON and will hold visionary presentations and discussions. Accompanying the convention will be the pitch battle for the 4th Munich Digital Innovation Award as well as the Marketplace of Innovation, which will give successful start-ups, KMU’s and large companies the opportunity to present groundbreaking innovations. We are proud to speak about "IP Assets: An Awakening in the Market? How to use Artificial Intelligence....

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42.cx, Kurt Hornburg, November 13th 2019

Hello World: How to Be Human in the Age of the Machine (by Hannah Fry)

In Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller’s new book “Narrative Economics”, Shiller advocates ‘stories do still matter’ – that narratives based on fact or fiction can go viral and influence the actions of consumers and firms. Hence, economists should pay more attention to people’s narratives and be better story tellers themselves. Hannah Fry, a Professor in mathematics at University College London, uses stories effectively in her entertaining and accessible book about data.....

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42.cx, November 13th 2019

A.I. Auto-Generates M&A Candidates

During a global partner conference of an international M&A firm in Madrid, 42.CX presented the utilisation of IP and Intangible Asset analytics to enhance the process of M&A related short-list generation. Traditionally, when Company X wants to expand in a particular technology area and wants to prepare a list of potential acquisition candidates, questions around how to identify targets or how to rank them arise. A classical job for an M&A advisory firm. 42.cx presented a machine learning based approach, where an M&A target list was....

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42.cx, October 28th 2019

42.cx @ ICMEE 2019, China

42.CX, represented by Jivka Ovtcharova, presented at the ICMEE 2019 in China. The ‘2019 International Conference on Mechanical Engineering Education’, held by Chinese Mechanical Engineering Society (CMES), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), is a high-level standard activity in the area of mechanical engineering education. This conference is co-operated by CMES, ASME and IMechE, National Mechanical Engineering Teaching Advisory Board under the Ministry of Education and MEUEE....

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42.cx, Nicole Büttner-Thiel, September 30th 2019

The Renaissance of Humanity

AI, machine learning and robotics have become omnipresent in daily life and headlines. While innovators are ravishing that it can eradicate close to all of humanity’s problems and data and machines will in future take all the decision. At the same time, the public debate about the impact of these technologies is often fundamentally pessimistic painting a picture of superintelligent machines taking over the world to dominate and eventually eradicate the human race. The response to this is often defensive, trying to fend off disruptive forces to preserve a status quo and even idealize ....

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42.cx, September 25th 2019

Fresh from the press: Our new book "IP Assets: An Awakening in the Market?" is available now!

The global innovation race is heating up, with advances in artificial intelligence, blockchain, biotechnology, data storage and other cutting-edge technologies transforming sectors and global markets. This is also evidenced in the fact that the ratio of tangible to intangible assets of industry leaders around the world has been seeing ....

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42.cx, Gabriele Zedlmayer & Martin Drexler, September 24th 2019

Shalom from DLD Israel where cool people meet in the hot desert!

Many people keep asking about the connection between Yossi Vardi, the famous Israeli VC and Hubert Burda. It all started with a small conference in Beer Sheva almost 20 years ago called “Cool people in the hot desert”. This first major conference of the Hubert Burda Center in cooperation with Yossi Vardi was created to build a bridge between Germany and ....

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42.cx, August 6th 2019

"Get started where others talk" - Jivka Ovtcharova in an interview.

It is a man-made development that demands much from its habitual-loving creator: digitization. Your constant companion: the change. How is digital progress changing people? What role do our senses play in this? And to what extent must people rethink and reorganize companies in order to advance digitization in Germany? These and other questions are answered...

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42.cx, July 29th 2019

Center for Artificial Intelligence Talents - CAIT Celebrates Its Opening, Announces 42.cx

KARLSRUHE, Germany, July 29, 2019 The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) announced the establishment of the Center for Artificial Intelligence Talents (CAIT) located at the university's campus. CAIT considers digital education and the use of AI for everyone as a core requirement for professional success and participation in social and professional life...

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42.cx, July 9h 2019

42.cx Collaboration with CAIT (Center for Artificial Intelligence Talent)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE puts the world in which we live and work in a fundamental upheaval. Like never before, whole industries and lifestyles change. A race for the future has begun at a moment when a great deal is at stake. "Any profound change also offers new opportunities for all who recognize the signs of the times." Under this motto, the Institute for Information Management in Engineering at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is...

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42.cx, Giacomo Bonavera, June 14h 2019

42.cx Market Intelligence Special Report: NVIDIA

42.cx is the leading research, advise and market intelligence provider for financial institutions in the area of Artificial Intelligence. As an independent authority, 42.cx classifies the AI market and constantly monitors 11.000+ companies in the field of Artificial Intelligence. 42.cx issues Market Intelligence Special Reports to different topics about the AI industry.

NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) share price slumped to half the value from its last year highs. While...

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42.cx, PRESS RELEASE, May 10h 2019

The Global AI Company Rally is Continuing: +30,02% in Q1/2019. What’s next in AI?

The expert members of the 42.cx Index Rebalancing Committee Meeting got together and conducted the quarterly review of the AI-42 INDEX™ constituents, discussed the latest Artificial Intelligence trends and shared market insights from their delegation visit to China. The rise of AI companies globally is continuing, with the AI-42 INDEX™ Q1/2019 closing at 10.677,55 points, an increase of 2.465,24 points (+30,02%) since the beginning of this year. The index, which is expressing the global growth of the...

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42.cx, Mike Halsall, May 7th 2019

Are we overestimating China’s AI capabilities?

In February 2018, the FT published an article outlining ‘Why we are in danger of overestimating AI’, arguing that ‘considerably more work is needed before we can reach the long-dreamt-of moment when machine intelligence matches the human variety’. By 2030, just 11 years from now, China has vehemently expressed its ambition to ‘lead the world in AI’. Is this a realistic ambition, or has China become entirely conceited in the midst of its new-found wealth and growing economic muscle?

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42.cx, PRESS RELEASE, March 29th 2019

42.cx Market Intelligence: Research Finds Only 5.45% of AI Companies Have High AI Expertise

41.35% of so called AI companies do not use AI at all. 10,861 public and private companies have been analysed worldwide. New AI Market Intelligence Platform helps Venture Capital firms, Private Equity companies, asset managers, analysts, family offices and financial institutions to identify investment opportunities.


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42.cx, Gabriele Zedlmayer, March 15th 2019

Trouble in Paradise?

So there seems to be trouble in Paradise. The globe is facing massive challenges like climate change, cyber-crime, shortage of available resources, political instability and the potential of massive job loss because everything that can be automated will be. At the same time, we are seeing unprecedented opportunities like we have never before. Algorithms help us to better diagnose, predict and prevent diseases, they revolutionize the education sector by treating each student as an individual, and they free us from many repetitive and often cumbersome tasks.

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42.cx, Anne Gfrerer, March 9th 2019

Artificial intelligence is in the air: Ready or not -
Why managers should foster digital readiness of their firms

In the last years, technology has gradually become invisible and digital ubiquity is arising in our daily work and private lives. This is also true for artificial intelligence and its impact for companies to succeed in the digital age. Organizations must foster their digital readiness, which decides about their future business model and which encompasses a...

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42.cx, Jivka Ovtcharova, February 21st 2019

Artificial Intelligence goes Twinning - making analytics come alive

We live in exciting times. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fundamentally transforming the world with all its facets. Even if it has been around for a while in science and technology, aiming to create machines with some form of human intelligence, over time AI has become an inseparable part of our daily lives, personal as well as professional. Online searching engines, financial transactions, digital personal assistants, image and voice recognition are...

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Competence in Artificial Intelligence

Rigourous systematic.


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