Europe Government

Preparing for the economic impact of artificial intelligence


The coverage and hype around artificial intelligence (AI) is reaching fever pitch. Key questions explore how it might impact people's lives and employment over the next five to ten years. These lead to questions over how to fund tax revenue shortfalls and higher unemployment costs. In practice, it's too early to know how fast AI will advance, how far it will spread into society, whether it will reach a state of superintelligence where it outsmarts humans at everything, or the net employment impact. This article explores the key economic questions that arise around the potential impact of AI on jobs in society, with a focus on robot taxes as a way of funding higher unemployment benefit costs or Guaranteed / Universal Basic Income (UBI) and Universal Basic Services (UBS) schemes.

UK self-driving car trials to continue despite US pedestrian death

Daily Mail

Self-driving car trials are to continue in the UK despite mounting concerns over safety after an Uber autonomous vehicle struck and killed a US pedestrian in Arizona this week. The country's biggest carmaker, Jaguar Land Rover, pushed ahead with trials of its autonomous vehicles in the Midlands yesterday despite warnings that the public are being treated like'human guinea pigs' during driverless car tests. The trial, launched less than 48 hours after the fatal accident on Sunday, is believed to be the first time a self-driving car has been used on open, public roads. The firm is expected to demonstrate more of the cars' features, including an emergency braking system, on urban streets in further tests this week. Britain's biggest carmaker, Jaguar Land Rover, pushed ahead with trials of its autonomous vehicles (file photo) in the Midlands yesterday despite warnings that the public are being treated like'human guinea pigs' during driverless car tests A self-driving Range Rover Sport drove itself through the centre of Milton Keyes on Tuesday before parking and driving off again, as part of a government-backed trial.

Cambridge Analytica: Academic at centre of Facebook data scandal says he is being made 'scapegoat'

The Independent

A UK-based academic whose app harvested the data of 50 million Facebook users has claimed he is being made a scapegoat by the social media company and Cambridge Analytica. Aleksandr Kogan, a psychology lecturer at Cambridge University, developed a personality app which amassed a huge cache of personal information from Facebook for the British political consultancy accused of an illegal data grab. Cambridge Analytica (CA) is alleged to have used the information to help Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and on Tuesday suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, after he was secretly recorded boasting about the firm's pivotal role in the US election. MPs have summoned Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to give evidence over the "catastrophic failure of process" behind the breach and have accused the social media giant of misleading Parliament about how companies acquired and held user data. Facebook, which also faces an investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission, has suspended activity for CA and Dr Kogan for violating its policies.

News Daily: Facebook data row and NHS set for pay deal

BBC News

An academic who created an app which harvested data from 50 million Facebook users says he has been made "a scapegoat" for Facebook and UK firm Cambridge Analytica. Dr Aleksandr Kogan completed work for Cambridge Analytica in 2014, but said he had no idea the data would be used to benefit Donald Trump's US presidential campaign. Facebook says Dr Kogan violated the site's policies. Last night, Alexander Nix, the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, was suspended, having been secretly filmed by Channel 4 News appearing to suggest the company could use tactics to discredit politicians online. The company says the programme "grossly misrepresented" Mr Nix's conversation.

Japanese researchers seek to read Mario Draghi's poker face to predict European Central Bank policy

The Japan Times

If European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi appears slightly more downbeat at his regular news conference than before, it could foreshadow a possible move by the bank to trim its monetary policy stimulus. That's the conclusion of two Japanese researchers who have used artificial intelligence software to analyze split-second changes in Draghi's facial expressions at his news conferences following policy meetings. The findings follow a similar analysis by the same researchers of Draghi's Japanese counterpart, Haruhiko Kuroda, last year, which claimed to have identified a correlation between patterns in his facial expressions and subsequent policy changes. Yoshiyuki Suimon and Daichi Isami, the paper's authors, think that subtle changes in Draghi's facial expressions could reflect a sense of frustration Draghi might have been feeling before making policy adjustments. Their study covered Draghi's news conference from June 2016 to December 2017 and found signs of "sadness" preceding two recent major policy changes -- when the central bank announced a dovish tapering in December 2016 and another quantitative easing cutback in October last year.

Cambridge Analytica: UK data watchdog applies for warrant to search firm's servers as Facebook told to 'stand down' its own probe

The Independent

Britain's Information Commissioner will seek a warrant to search computers and servers used by the London-based political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica (CA), which is accused of using the personal data of tens-of-millions of Facebook members to influence 2016's US presidential election. Elizabeth Denham said the company had failed to cooperate after she issued a Demand for Access to records and data it held on 7 March. "Cambridge Analytica has not responded to the commissioner by the deadline provided. Therefore, the Information Commissioner is seeking a warrant to obtain information and access to systems and evidence related to her investigation," her office said in a statement. A whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, who worked with CA, claimed the company had amassed the data of some 50 million people through a personality quiz on Facebook called This is Your Digital Life, created by academic Aleksandr Kogan, of Global Science Research.

European Union to investigate alleged Facebook data breach

Al Jazeera

Legislators for the European Union have announced an investigation after allegations user data of 50 million Facebook accounts were misused. The investigation comes after Christopher Wylie, a whistle-blower who worked for data analytics company Cambridge Analytica, said on Saturday data of the 50 million users were harvested without their knowledge or consent. Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, said on Twitter the allegations, if true, constitute "an unacceptable violation of our citizens' privacy rights". "The European Parliament will investigate fully, calling digital platforms to account," he said. Allegations of misuse of Facebook user data is an unacceptable violation of our citizens' privacy rights.

British Prime Minister Very Concerned by Facebook Data Abuse Reports

U.S. News

Facebook said in a statement on Friday that it had learned in 2015 that a Cambridge University psychology professor had lied to the company and violated its policies by passing data to Cambridge Analytica from a psychology testing app he had built. Facebook said it suspended the firms and researchers involved.

No 10 'very concerned' over Facebook data breach by Cambridge Analytica

The Guardian

Downing Street expressed its concern for the Facebook data breach that affected tens of millions of people involving the analytics company that worked with Donald Trump's campaign team. No 10 weighed in on the row as almost $20bn (£14bn) was wiped off the social network company's market cap in the first few minutes of trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange, where Facebook opened down more than 3%. After less than two hours trading, the company's losses had multiplied to almost $30bn. Theresa May's spokesman said she backed an investigation by the information commissioner, which was prompted by a whistleblower who told the Observer how Cambridge Analytica harvested millions of Facebook profiles to influence voters through "psychographic" targeting. The European parliament president, Antonio Tajani, also said on Monday that the institution would "investigate fully".

Cabinet to investigate societal impact of new technologies


Robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality and other new technologies can both strengthen and undermine key values such as privacy, non-discrimination, human dignity (such as when care tasks are carried out by robots), human rights and the right to due process, says the Rathenau Institute. At the same time, these technologies offer new social and commercial opportunities, potential gains in efficiency and quality, and educational benefits. The government has therefore decided to commission more research into the societal effects of technological developments and to establish an inter-ministerial working group to study this issue. And the budget of the Data Protection Authority will be almost doubled. The cabinet made these decisions following proposals put forward jointly by Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Kajsa Ollongren and her ministry's state secretary Raymond Knops, State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Mona Keijzer, Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus and Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker.