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Deepfakes are hyper-realistic media products created through artificial intelligence (AI) techniques that manipulate how people look and the things that they appear to say or do. They hit the headlines in 2018 with a deepfake video of Barack Obama, which was designed to raise awareness of their challenges. The accessibility and outputs of deepfake generation tools are improving rapidly, and their use is increasing exponentially. A wide range of malicious uses have been identified, including fraud ...

Artificial intelligence (AI) policy debates are replete with metaphors. Even the term ‘AI’ relies upon a metaphor for the human quality of intelligence, and its development is regularly described as a ‘race’. While metaphors are useful in highlighting some features of their subject, they are so powerful that it can be difficult to imagine or discuss their subject in other terms. Here, we explore some challenges presented by the central metaphor of ‘intelligence’, examine how AI metaphors emphasise ...

Technological development has long been considered as a disruptive force, provoking change at many levels, from the routine daily activities of individuals to dramatic competition between global superpowers. This analysis examines disruption caused by technologies in a series of key areas of politics, economics and society. It focuses on seven fields: the economic system, the military and defence, democratic debates and the 'infosphere', social norms, values and identities, international relations ...

Artificial intelligence (AI) is probably the defining technology of the last decade, and perhaps also the next. The aim of this report is to support meaningful reflection and productive debate about AI by providing accessible information about the full range of current and speculative techniques and their associated impacts, and setting out a wide range of regulatory, technological and societal measures that could be mobilised in response.

The world of work is regularly disrupted by technology development. From mass production to word processing, innovations have regularly transformed our working lives and, with them, the broader economic system. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the latest in a long line of such technologies. What would happen if AI worked just as well as (or perhaps better than) humans, without taking holidays, getting sick, joining unions or drawing salaries?

Europeans are ageing. In 2016, there were 3.3 people of working-age for each citizen over 65 years. By 2070, this will fall to only two. As the population lives longer, our care needs grow, but fewer people will be available to deliver them. Could assistive technologies (ATs) help us to meet the challenges of elderly care?

From the first canvas paintings to the production of musical instruments and contemporary cinema, art as we know it would be simply impossible without resource to humanity’s historical cache of technology development. The reverse of this relationship is also important, with the arts creating driving innovation and generating substantial demand for technology products. In the course of their work, artists often develop new techniques and push the boundaries of the imagination in ways that can provoke ...

How artificial intelligence works

Briefing 14-03-2019

This briefing provides accessible introductions to some of the key techniques that come under the AI banner, grouped into three sections to give a sense the chronology of its development. The first describes early techniques, described as ‘symbolic AI’ while the second focusses on the ‘data driven’ approaches that currently dominate and the third looks towards possible future developments. By explaining what is ‘deep’ about deep learning and showing that AI is more maths than magic, the briefing ...

This briefing explains why AI matters by reviewing some of the key opportunities and challenges it presents, but it does so with reference to the functionality and readiness of the technology. The first section focuses on the opportunities and challenges presented by today’s AI while the second explores longer-term speculative opportunities and challenges that are contingent upon future developments that may never happen.

With the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it became clear how technologies such as social media and techniques such as psychological profiling can be combined in election campaigns with worrying effects. Personalised political messaging is highly automated. It starts and ends with social media, which provides both the data for categorising users and the medium for targeting them with personalised messages. Messages might be designed to favour a particular candidate or to encourage widespread discord ...