AI Cannot Function without Humans

The drumbeat is unrelenting: AI is coming, humans beware. But there is a dirty little secret underlying the hyped triumphs of AI: Humans.

MIT Technology Review interviewed Mary L. Gray, a Fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, recently about her new book, Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass in which she looks into the lives of the hidden workers behind AI:

“Human workers don’t just label the data that makes AI work. Sometimes humans workers are the artificial intelligence.” While Gray is most concerned (perhaps rightly) over their working conditions, her research also shows just how much the “human” powers AI.

AI systems are not some alien brain evolving in our midst, soon to be our overlords and masters. They are machines we build and train by embedding our humanity into their programming.

So, let’s stop, or at least ignore, the hollow drumbeat of AI superiority. Humans are amazing and AI would be lost without them.

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