We are the AI problem

Emory Law Journal Online

18 Pages Posted: 9 May 2024

See all articles by Tonja Jacobi

Tonja Jacobi

Emory University School of Law

Matthew Sag

Emory University School of Law

Date Written: May 7, 2024

Abstract

In this Essay we note that some controversies surrounding AI are strikingly familiar and quotidian; they reflect existing cultural divides and obsessions of the moment. The recent flare-up over Google's Gemini illustrates how many of the debates about AI primarily reflect social problems, rather than technological ones. We argue that, for those upset about AI wokeness gone wild, it is important to understand that, in many ways, the problem is us. Gemini’s un-whitewashing of history resulted in absurd creations, but the situation reflects some truths about our society—that the underlying problem is society, not inherently the new technology representing it. There are four important elements about the creation process of AI that explain the “Black-Nazi problem” (for want of a better short-hand ) that also reveal broader problems about society. Understanding those aspects of the AI creation process reveals that AI’s foibles are a symptom of our ongoing struggle with the ramifications of past inequality and the difficulty of balancing inherently conflicting goals, such as aspirational diversity and historical accuracy. The Gemini storm in a teacup over “woke AI” gives us a window onto other intractable socio-technical problems we need to confront in AI.

Keywords: Generative AI, Socio-technical problems, "Wokeness", Black-Nazi problem

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Jacobi, Tonja and Sag, Matthew, We are the AI problem (May 7, 2024). Emory Law Journal Online, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4820165

Tonja Jacobi

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Matthew Sag (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

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