As a researcher who has spent some time working on AI and Robotics I naturally tend to notice when AI gets discussed in the news. Over the last couple of years, social media and software companies have all started to invest heavily in AI research such as Google’s purchase of the robotics company Boston Dynamics, Facebook, as well as Microsoft, Apple and IBM’s Watson and Deep Blue of course. Partially in response to this, research institutes (e.g. Future of Life institute, Future of Humanity institute, Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI)) and well known scientists and industrialists (e.g. Stephen Hawking, Max Tegmark, Elon Musk and Bill Gates) have launched various campaigns and given media interviews to raise their concerns about the possible extinction level threat posed by the possible rise of Superintelligent AI.
Scanning through the BBC’s online technology articles this week, I found my interest piqued by the news that Amazon have launched a lawsuit against 1,114 individuals offering review services in exchange for payment. The online marketplace site through which these users were operating, Fiverr, seemed oddly familiar and I soon realised why.
Starting some time in the middle of last week, much of the social media related news coverage has been dominated by the so called ‘positivity app’ Peeple that proposes to let people give ratings about other people, and the outright negative response it has elicited in the vast majority of people (including us). Since any such endeavor obviously steps into a massive “ethics minefield”, CaSMa was naturally attracted to looking into this a bit more.
This week we have a guest post by Penny Polson, who has been a Research Assistant on the POET tool for the past three months. Penny has been building on the qualitative analysis skills she attained in her dissertation project (regarding attitudes regarding fish pain) to investigate the experiences of academics who use social media. In this blog, she focuses on the important distinction made between ‘personal’ and ‘professional’ use of Twitter accounts, and how those terms become blurred once public engagement and specifically Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) are considered.