The Dark Truth Behind AI

What is artificial intelligence? If you ask someone on the street, they might mention Apple’s Siri or Tesla’s cars. But the real answer is far more complicated.

Examining the origins of AI and its pitfalls, writer and academic Kate Crawford wants people to know that the AI industry depends on cheap human labor to do many tasks.

Crawford points to the vast number of underpaid workers who design and maintain most AI systems. This “invisible” labor—the repetitive tasks that make AI like Amazon’s Alexa seem magical to users—takes place in all stages of design and prep. 

While users often think of AI as a politically neutral technical tool, in fact it has far-reaching social and political implications. Crawford describes how AI can be used to build, exercise, and reinforce power, and even shape the way in which we see the world. 

Learn more about the dark side of tech in our Instaread on Atlas of AI

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