“The Future Computed” and while it arrives, here I am still waiting, all cyber-attacked.

Some cybercriminal, 
whose identity and location I am afraid no one will be able to remember, 
not only hacked my credit card 
but my post has cheated me. 
And I am especially sorry for Microsoft. 
And it's not an easy rhyme 
Nor is it a vain invention.

https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2018/01/17/future-computed-artificial-intelligence-role-society/Efectivamente, reality has crept into this post in which, with great enthusiasm, I wanted to review the book The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and its role in society  that Microsoft gave us to the participants of the international conference Privacy Law Salon held in the United States at the beginning of February and whose electronic version is available by following the previous link. 

Yes, I write these lines with the book still in my hands from the waiting room of a police station. It turns out that in order for the fraudulent charges made with my credit card to be reversed, I have no choice but to send the bank a copy of the complaint that I have to physically file or ratify at the police station. And it also turns out that, to process the complaint at the police station, the police require a certificate of the fraudulent charges physically stamped by the bank. 

Anyway, I had to visit my bank branch - which I had not been to for years - first thing in the morning to have my bank statement stamped with the fraudulent charges. It is Monday and during the weekend the complaints accumulate, and I am already for my third hour of waiting at this police station. 

But let's get out of that tiny waiting room and go back to the "Future Computed" of Microsoft that begins with a retrospective of Brad Smith - president and director of legal affairs of Microsoft - who tells in the foreword of the book the phenomenon that occurred twenty years ago - which I was lucky enough to experience in the first person - consisting of the appearance of a practice of law: the right to data protection that in those days the most ominous foreshadowed that it would not have much of a journey and that, twenty years later and in full fury of the RGDP (General Data Protection Regulation) brings together thousands of professionals. According to Brad Smith, the same will happen in the future with the practice of Artificial Intelligence (AI) law. 

And the thing is, Microsoft's reflection is not focused on technological issues but on the ethical-legal questions posed by AI and is a call - above all - to a responsible design and use of it, to the establishment of ethical principles that protect people. The book includes a realistic - but certainly optimistic - reflection of its impact on the labor market and, finally, a vision on the supervision and regulation models that should govern it. 

The reality that a major player like Microsoft anticipates is that AI will help us more efficiently manage our most precious and limited asset: time. Microsoft's forecasts are that, by 2038, our personal digital assistants will have been trained to anticipate our needs, manage our schedules, help us prepare our meetings, plan our leisure time, answer and manage our communications and drive the vehicles that transport us. 

Outside of our personal realm, AI will allow extraordinary advances in areas such as health, agriculture, education and transportation that we are already experiencing today and that the book illustrates with some of the projects that Microsoft is working on as “InnerEye” in the Oncology field, “Premonition” in the prevention and anticipation of epidemics, “FamBeats” in agriculture and a long etcetera in which the current projects that its affiliate LinkedIn is undertaking in the transformation of the labor market are especially striking. 

Now, as happened with the advent of new technologies twenty years ago, this expansion of AI in our lives also raises concerns and complex debates that Microsoft does not avoid in its book. And this is where the book adds value since, beyond the inevitable subliminal publicity about the solutions of the publisher *, the book opens the debate on the formulas to ensure that AI is designed and used in a responsible way. 

The debate focuses on the need to raise ethical principles that protect people, the role and use that governments should make of these solutions and the inevitable impact they will have on the future of employment and the labor market. 

The six ethical principles that Microsoft proposes to outline the future development of AI are its fairness, reliability and security, privacy and security, inclusiveness, transparency and proactive responsibility. fairness, reliability and safety, privacy and security, inclusivity, transparency, and accountability). These principles are intended to guide all stakeholder action - from programmers to end users. 

As we said, the complex debate about the impact that AI will have on the job market with the destruction and creation of jobs that it will generate is not avoided. And if there has been an evident constant in the last 250 years of technological change, this has been the great impact that new technologies and inventions have had on the creation of new jobs, the disappearance of others and the evolution of functions and tasks. of existing jobs. Constant that we can be sure will continue. 

Our conclusions What is anticipated is that, in the first place, those governments and private sectors that adopt AI before and effectively will benefit the most from it because it is a constant that economic growth and new jobs always benefit those who they adapt and embrace change and not those who resist it or do everything possible to delay it. 

Second, although Microsoft believes that AI will contribute to the solution of many of the problems that our societies face, it must not lower its guard regarding its future development, which must always be critically analyzed and always keeping in mind unbreakable and solid ethical principles and legislation that govern it, an essential adaptation of the new skills and competencies that will be necessary and the inevitable reform of labor legislation and the labor markets that the new scenario before which we find ourselves poses. 

Third, a call is made for joint responsibility in the development of AI whose development is not the exclusive competence of the technology sector. Microsoft is publicly committed to democratizing AI in the same way that it bet that the PC would become a commodity available to everyone. In fact, of course today a PC or a smartphone can already be described as "essential goods" in many advanced societies. The technology giant insists on its commitment that the tools it is creating are accessible to all solution developers, companies and governments who wish to build AI-based solutions to contribute to the development of society. 

In the end, this book - in a manifest tone - insists that the future development of AI will not only come from the hand of science and technology or engineering and mathematics since, as computers increasingly behave in a more similar way to humans, it will be essential that the social sciences and humanities play a leading role in its development. Literature, art, history, economics, ethics, philosophy, psychology will be critical - Microsoft says - in the development and management of AI-based solutions 

Each one will judge whether the book is an advertising manifesto of the publisher or a valid and serious reflection, but of course, it is commendable that a fundamental actor in the development of AI has made these statements and commitments publicly and I allow myself to recommend reading it as, at a minimum, it will allow readers to glimpse the fascinating projects and practical applications that AI already has today without having to imagine much what it will be like "Future computed".

Now, while that future arrives, I am still in the waiting room of the police station on Calle Príncipe de Asturias in Madrid after a whole morning wasted trying to get the bank to drop the fraudulent charges. I'm glad to hear that Microsoft wants to help me manage my best iscaso and precious, but in the meantime, clearly some go faster than others in this world in transit. 

The dichotomy should no longer be maintained since if they cyber-attack me I should be able to cyber-defend myself and in that, of course, I also agree with Microsoft because if my bank and the police do not adapt as quickly to technology as cyber -delicuentes and they continue to give so much importance to the certificates and "physical" complaints and if "the bad guys" are still faster than "the good ones" here I will continue, cyber-attacked myself, while that "future computed”Predicted by Microsoft. 

© Javier Fernandez-Samaniego, 2019

* References to Cortana - Microsoft's digital assistant - and to some of its subsidiaries - notably Linkedin and its functionalities and great help it is providing to job seekers, companies and governments in the transformation of the world of work.

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“The Future Computed” and while it arrives, here I am still waiting, all cyber-attacked.

About the Author

Javier Fernández-Samaniego

Javier Fernández-Samaniego

Managing Partner of Samaniego Law, a law firm specializing in conflict resolution and new technology law. Member of the Academic Council of Fide

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