AI's strange effects on intuition

Everyone likes to follow their intuition because it’s the ultimate act of trusting oneself.

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Intuition plays a huge role in decisions. Even with AI making more decisions and acting on behalf of humans, our desire to use our intuition is not going to go away. As designers, academics and users gain more experience with AI, we get new insights into its impact on intuition in human-machine systems.

In a video presentation this week hosted by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Sandra Wachter, associate professor at the Oxford Internet Institute, described the important role of intuition in discrimination law in the EU and how AI disrupts people’s ability to rely on intuition.

Judges use their intuition and common sense when it comes to assessing “contextual equality” to decide whether someone has been treated unfairly under the law. The agility of the EU legal system is described by Wachter as a “feature not a bug.” Courts generally “don’t like statistics,” because they can easily lie and tend to skew “equality of weapons,” handing the advantage to those who are better resourced. “Common sense” is part of the deal but when discrimination is caused by algorithms that process data in multi-dimensional space, common sense can fall apart. Experts need technical measurements that help them navigate new and emergent grey areas.

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