Technology should not be separated from policy; however, in reality there is very little intersection between the two. "Policymakers need to recognize this danger, and to welcome a new generation of technologists to help solve the socio-technical policy problems of the 21st century. We need to create ways to speak tech to power -- and power needs to open the door and let technologists in." Read more about this issue and how it can be remedied in a great Schneier on Security article:
Technologists and policymakers largely inhabit two separate worlds. It's an old problem, one that the British scientist CP Snow identified ina 1959 essay entitledThe Two Cultures. He called them sciences and humanities, and pointed to the split as a major hindrance to solving the world's problems. The essay was influential -- but 60 years later, nothing has changed.
When Snow was writing, the two cultures theory was largely an interesting societal observation. Today, it's a crisis. Technology is now deeply intertwined with policy. We're building complex socio-technical systems at all levels of our society. Software constrains behavior with an efficiency that no law can match. It's all changing fast; technology is literally creating the world we all live in, and policymakers can't keep up. Getting it wrong has become increasingly catastrophic. Surviving the future depends in bringing technologists and policymakers together.
Consider artificial intelligence (AI). This technology has the potential to augment human decision-making, eventually replacing notoriously subjective human processes with something fairer, more consistent, faster and more scalable. But it also has the potential to entrench bias and codify inequity, and to act in ways that are unexplainable and undesirable. It can be hacked in new ways, giving attackers from criminals and nation states new capabilities to disrupt and harm. How do we avoid the pitfalls of AI while benefiting from its promise? Or, more specifically, where and how should government step in and regulate what is largely a market-driven industry? The answer requires a deep understanding of both the policy tools available to modern society and the technologies of AI.
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