Thursday, May 5, 2016

Izabella Kaminska and the Superdebthunterbot

Of course with the serial 'thun' combined with a nearby 'er' I kept reading it as Superthunderbot, which name I will probably append to the blogwriting AI if it ever catches on to phrasing sentences in Japanese.
From FT Alphaville:

Artificial Intelligence on trial

A couple of weeks ago I received this in the post:

It’s a fake jury summons to Southwark Crown Court for the trial of a theoretical rogue algorithm called Superdebthunterbot. It was, of course, just a bit performance art, the brainchild of Goldsmiths College artist Helen Knowles.

But it was also a wonderful exercise in what might happen if a free-thinking evolutionary algorithm, hatched to maximise the efficiency of bad debt collection, took any means possible to meet its objectives.

In this case Superdebthunterbot had supposedly encouraged indebted students — through digital marketing trickery — to sign-up for unregulated medical trials in a bid to raise the cash they owed to the debt collection agency.

It was emphasised to the jury that whilst a human programmer had engineered the algorithm, it was not he who had concocted the plan to use such a strategy for debt collection. It was not the programmer who was on trial, but the algorithm. And the question being asked was whether the algorithm — echoing Asimov’s laws of Robotics — had a duty of care to the individuals it was dealing with.

The algo was found not guilty, with the culpability seemingly deemed to be attached to the organisation who dispatched the algorithm to begin with.

There are two notable things here....MORE