Help me decide v decide for me

Resolving a fundamental incompatibility with AI in human decision-making

Help me decide v decide for me

When we first started working with AI, we did a survey of what people did and didn’t want AI to do for them.

Two things jumped out at us. First, the more personal a task is, the more there’s a social aspect, the less people want an AI to help. This means that people are comfortable with an AI that performs tasks for them like getting information or finding ways to save time or money. But they don’t want an AI to do social things like looking after children or being a friend. Humans like performing tasks with an intrinsic social reward themselves.

The second thing that jumped out is that people want an AI to help them make decisions like helping them to be healthier but they don’t want AI to make decisions for them like managing their health. This difference - help me decide versus decide for me - is a big deal when you consider the role of technology in our lives.

Agency is at the core of the human experience. We prize our ability make decisions, to act, and to choose our futures—individually and collectively. The act of making choices brings meaning to our lives. We live authentically by making choices of our own, not following the choices of others. And through making choices, we understand the meaning of our existence and we create our future selves. Agency provides us the power to become the authors of our lives.

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