Center for Science and the Imagination and Open Technology Institute Launch “AI Policy Futures”

“Science fiction stories exert a powerful influence on how we think about technology and the future. But if we spend all of our time looking over our shoulders for killer robots, that means we are not looking ahead to discern the outcomes we might actually want.”

Algorithms Are Like Kirk, Not Spock

When technologists describe their hotshot new system for trading stocks or driving cars, the algorithm at its heart always seems to emerge from a magical realm of Spock-like rationality and mathematical perfection. Algorithms can save lives or make money, the argument goes, because they are built on the foundations of mathematics: logical rigor, conceptual clarity, and utter consistency. Math is perfect, right? And algorithms are made out of math.