A majority of people are uncomfortable with the idea of artificial intelligence being used in decision making in public services, according to the results of a poll carried out for the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). It has also urged in a report that the public should be engaged early about the increased use of AI in an effort to build confidence in the responsible use of the technology. A survey carried out for the RSA by polling firm YouGov, which took in responses from 2,000 people, showed that small numbers were aware of the role of automated decision systems in public services: 9% for criminal justice, 14% for immigration, 18% for healthcare and 19% for social support. On being asked if they supported its use, the numbers were only a little higher, or lower in one case: 12% for criminal justice, 16% for immigration, 20% for healthcare and 17% for social support. For each service area there was a majority of 50-60% saying they opposed its use with the rest saying they were unsure, although for healthcare the figure in opposition was 48%.
Federal immigration officials have abandoned their pursuit of a controversial machine-learning technology that was a pillar of the Trump administration's "extreme vetting" of foreign visitors, dealing a reality check to the goal of using artificial intelligence to predict human behavior. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials told tech-industry contractors last summer they wanted a system for their "Extreme Vetting Initiative" that could automatically mine Facebook, Twitter and the broader Internet to determine whether a visitor might commit criminal or terrorist acts or was a "positively contributing member of society." But ICE dropped the machine-learning requirement from its request in recent months, opting instead to hire a contractor that can provide training, management and human personnel who can do the job. Federal documents say the contract is expected to cost more than $100 million and be awarded by the end of the year. After gathering "information from industry professionals and other government agencies on current technological capabilities," ICE spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell said, the focus of what the agency now calls its Visa Lifecycle Vetting program "shifted from a technology-based contract to a labor contract."
Over the past two years, as the debate over immigration policies has grown increasingly heated, an argument was often introduced as a counter to some of the more abrasive stances. At first glance, it may have appeared to be a fact-based response to the animosity and divisiveness that defined the debate. For those of us with deeper, first-hand knowledge though, it was just as fear-based and misinformed. The argument was most succinctly summed up by an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times, "Robots, not immigrants, are taking American jobs." It states, "A White House report released in December says 83% of U.S. jobs in which people make less than $20 per hour are now, or soon will be, subject to automation … and warns Americans to get ready for an era of 60% unemployment."
A report released Thursday details the massive, complex police databases that local law enforcement in LA and Massachusetts use to investigate suspects. Through a service known as COPLINK, the storehouses of data that local police use during investigations are being shared with a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. While ICE representatives in the report note the usefulness of the software, several privacy, immigration, and civil liberties advocates question both the accuracy of the software and the use of data to surveil people. COPLINK combines information from multiple police databases, and then allows law enforcement to sort and filter through them in the course of their investigations. Injustice Today reviewed documents from the Massachusetts and LA versions of the program.
Facial recognition technology will be deployed at major airports in fiscal 2019 to screen foreign visitors as they leave Japan, a Justice Ministry official said Monday. Similar gates are being used at Tokyo's Haneda airport to screen returning Japanese, but the new plan will allow the Immigration Bureau to allocate more human resources to the processing of foreign arrivals, shortening waiting times, the official said. They also said it would allow more immigration staff to be tasked with counterterrorism duties ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The gates scan faces and compare the images with the photographic data encrypted on microchips in passports. The gates automatically open if the computer verifies a match.
The New Zealand government kicked off a pilot program 18 months ago that uses data collected through the country's visa application process to determine firstly those in breach of their visa conditions before deciding who should be asked to leave. Speaking on Radio New Zealand this week, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway explained that the process seeks people that are "over-stayers" or are in the country unlawfully due to breaching visa conditions, rather than filtering people based on their age, gender, and ethnicity. Machine learning, task automation and robotics are already widely used in business. These and other AI technologies are about to multiply, and we look at how organizations can best take advantage of them. "This is not about trying to predict who will commit a crime, this is about looking at the over 11,000 people who are in New Zealand unlawfully and prioritising where best to use Immigration New Zealand's resources to make sure that they are deporting the people who impose the greatest risk to New Zealand," the minister said.
Since 9/11, border patrol agencies around the world have focused on improving their abilities to quickly assess threats from passengers and cargo entering the country. Based on its work with several countries on border protection, Unisys developed the LineSight software, which uses advanced analytics that assesses risk in near real time. Rather than relying solely on pattern recognition based on historical data, LineSight assesses risk from the initial intent to travel and refines that assessment as current information becomes available -- beginning with a traveler's visa application, reservation, ticket purchase, seat selection, check-in and arrival, the company said. The software provides similar risk assessments for cargo shipments based on manifest forms, customs declaration or airline bills. "It became clear more recently that statistical methods and analytical tools would be a better approach than trying to consolidate watch lists to find patterns."
If Trump is the top topic of conversation in Davos this year, artificial intelligence is a close second. There are literally dozens of panels on the topic scattered around this snow-buried village, as my colleague Adam Lashinsky reported yesterday. There seems to be no-one here who questions the notion that vast amounts of data combined with powerful machine-learning algorithms will not only transform almost every business, but also the way we live.