Societal, Economic, Ethical and Legal Challenges of the Digital Revolution: From Big Data to Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Manipulative Technologies

25 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2015  

Dirk Helbing

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS)

Date Written: April 14, 2015

Abstract

In the wake of the on-going digital revolution, we will see a dramatic transformation of our economy and most of our societal institutions. While the benefits of this transformation can be massive, there are also tremendous risks to our society. After the automation of many production processes and the creation of self-driving vehicles, the automation of society is next. This is moving us to a tipping point and to a crossroads: we must decide between a society in which the actions are determined in a top-down way and then implemented by coercion or manipulative technologies (such as personalized ads and nudging) or a society, in which decisions are taken in a free and participatory way and mutually coordinated. Modern information and communication systems (ICT) enable both, but the latter has economic and strategic benefits. The fundaments of human dignity, autonomous decision-making, and democracies are shaking, but I believe that they need to be vigorously defended, as they are not only core principles of livable societies, but also the basis of greater efficiency and success.

Keywords: Digital revolution, Big Data, deep learning, artificial intelligence, persuasive computing, nudging

JEL Classification: A00, O33

Suggested Citation

Helbing, Dirk, Societal, Economic, Ethical and Legal Challenges of the Digital Revolution: From Big Data to Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Manipulative Technologies (April 14, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2594352 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2594352

Dirk Helbing (Contact Author)

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS) ( email )

ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Clausiusstrasse 50
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.coss.ethz.ch

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