The Future of Minds and Machines

Report by Aleksandra Berditchevskaia and Peter Baek: “When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), the dominant media narratives often end up taking one of two opposing stances: AI is the saviour or the villain. Whether it is presented as the technology responsible for killer robots and mass job displacement or the one curing all disease and halting the climate crisis, it seems clear that AI will be a defining feature of our future society. However, these visions leave little room for nuance and informed public debate. They also help propel the typical trajectory followed by emerging technologies; with inevitable regularity we observe the ascent of new technologies to the peak of inflated expectations they will not be able to fulfil, before dooming them to a period languishing in the trough of disillusionment.[1]

There is an alternative vision for the future of AI development. By starting with people first, we can introduce new technologies into our lives in a more deliberate and less disruptive way. Clearly defining the problems we want to address and focusing on solutions that result in the most collective benefit can lead us towards a better relationship between machine and human intelligence. By considering AI in the context of large-scale participatory projects across areas such as citizen science, crowdsourcing and participatory digital democracy, we can both amplify what it is possible to achieve through collective effort and shape the future trajectory of machine intelligence. We call this 21st-century collective intelligence (CI).

In The Future of Minds and Machines we introduce an emerging framework for thinking about how groups of people interface with AI and map out the different ways that AI can add value to collective human intelligence and vice versa. The framework has, in large part, been developed through analysis of inspiring projects and organisations that are testing out opportunities for combining AI & CI in areas ranging from farming to monitoring human rights violations. Bringing together these two fields is not easy. The design tensions identified through our research highlight the challenges of navigating this opportunity and selecting the criteria that public sector decision-makers should consider in order to make the most of solving problems with both minds and machines….(More)”.