Tuesday

7th Dec 2021

Podcast

Data and Dystopia

  • Critics warn that Europe could find itself in an untenable position, caught between upholding privacy ethics that have helped burnish its global reputation, and seeking to boost its competitiveness and security by promoting intrusive industries (Photo: Helena Malikova)

Computing known as artificial intelligence sorts vast amounts of data — faces, our web browsing habits, even our gestures — into automated predictions used by companies and governments.

The technology holds great promise for applications like diagnosing disease and preventing catastrophes. Yet it can exacerbate discrimination and inequality, and be used to erode democracy.

Read and decide

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Despite concerns about human rights and civil liberties, and about the activities of companies like Clearview AI and Palantir Technologies, European Union authorities are shaping a 21st-century industrial policy around artificial intelligence.

That includes opening access to vast amounts of data — data from both the private and the public sectors — in the name of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Critics warn that Europe could find itself in an untenable position, caught between upholding privacy ethics that have helped burnish its global reputation, and seeking to boost its competitiveness and security by promoting intrusive industries.

We speak with four experts and legislators about how to keep A.I. safe for citizens: Samira Rafaela, a Dutch member of the European Parliament; Joanna Bryson, professor of ethics and technology at the Hertie School in Berlin; Sarah Chander, senior policy adviser for the European Digital Rights Association, EDRi; and Patrick Breyer, a member of the European Parliament who represents the German Pirates in alliance with the Greens.

"Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125" by Papalin is licensed under CC by 3.0. Wael Koudaih kindly contributed his track "Thawra" to this episode. You'll find more of his music under the name Rayess Bek.

Author bio

EU Scream is the progressive politics podcast from Brussels. Produced by James Kanter with graphics by Helena Malikova and music by Lara Natale.

You may also subscribe via iTunes, Spotify or from the EU Scream website.

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