Keep calm – it's just technology! On personal responsibility for intelligent machines

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Many people are skeptical about the potential of artificial intelligence. This stems from concerns about losing their job or only being showed supposedly suitable content, to fear of omniscient algorithms.

We discussed this topic with Jaron Lanier, Internet pioneer, entrepreneur, writer and musician and the author Tom Hillenbrand. Lanier views such fears as unfounded because machines can only ever be as intelligent as the person who programmed them. "To the degree you believe that digital technology does anything by itself, then it has fooled you. Everything is still done by people and only human responsibility can have any effect, whether positive or negative."

Hillenbrand sees things in a similar way: "These algorithms were made by people. The ways in which algorithms make decisions and classify things are thus all based on human assumptions. And human assumptions can turn out to be very wrong, thus making algorithms do crazy things. In sum, we're probably going to have to save ourselves, unfortunately; there's just no getting around that."

Here Lanier calls on each of us to feel responsible. "We all tend to believe that technology will somehow do something for us when ultimately it is only our own responsibility and very very complex politics and compromises that can create any betterment."

In addition, we have contrasted in our click path some historical observations  with contemporary statements. For digitization is changing much but not everything. And always the reactions to change were similar. In the past as today.

I hope you enjoy watching this special and I look forward to your comments.

Verena Fulde

Young woman meets Robot

Digital responsibility

Experts discuss about chances and risks of digitization.