New York Times Article: How Do You Govern Machines That Can Learn?

Steve Lohr

How Do You Govern Machines That Can Learn? Policymakers Are Trying to Figure That Out

Mr. Abelson began with a brisk history of machine learning, starting in the 1950s. Next came a description of how the technology works, a hands-on project using computer-vision models and then case studies. The goal was to give the policymakers from countries like France, Japan and Sweden a sense of the technology’s strengths and weaknesses, emphasizing the crucial role of human choices.

“These machines do what they do because they are trained,” Mr. Abelson said.

The class was part of a three-day gathering at M.I.T., including expert panels, debate and discussion, as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development seeks to agree on recommendations for artificial intelligence policy by this summer.

But where are policymakers supposed to even start? Artificial intelligence seems to be everywhere, much hyped, much feared yet little understood. Some proclaim A.I. will be an elixir of prosperity, while others warn it will be a job killer, even an existential threat to humanity. Continue...