In this video Viktor Dörfler argues that smart technology and smart devices can often be stupid.
Information systems are supposed to make our lives easier. However, we find far too often that their recommendations are incredibly bad. Why? Because their recommendation systems work like the shaving machine from the earlier video: they cannot handle customising it for real individuals and therefore it is customised for the average.
The problem is that the average does not exist. Sometimes you can calculate it, for instance, you could take everyone’s shoe size and calculate that the average shoe size is 8.37. Only there would be very few people who could wear those shoes. This also means that this is not an AI problem; it is not the AI that is not smart enough, the problem is that we use elementary statistics instead of using AI. Why? Probably because it is simply cheaper. For instance, there is no technical reason for why we would not have holistic dynamic traffic regulation. We could have cameras recording the traffic on all the roads, adjust the traffic lights, the speed limits, re-route the GPS (global positioning system) devices, etc. They could include car park availability, and this would work even better if it was linked to our calendars so that the traffic regulation could know how long I plan to stay in my parking spot. We could go even further. Each of us could have specific driving skill scores which would determine individual speed limits. Furthermore, if I am meeting my daughter’s primary school teacher because she misbehaved and my personality profile says that I can be nervous in such cases, my car simply would not start. Probably there are not too many things that would make me even more nervous then. Do we really want that? We need to figure out some sort of balance between intrusion into privacy and customising to the average, between having everything personalised and rules that are simple to apply. A machine cannot figure this out, only a human.