True or false?
Our lives are becoming increasingly digital. Artificial intelligence has long since evolved from the stuff of science fiction into reality.
Put your knowledge about our everyday digital world to the test...
True. 380 500 euros – that’s how much someone was willing to pay for a painting by a computer in 2018. The artwork created by an artificial intelligence (AI) went under the hammer at auction house Christie’s. But that’s not all. AI also writes music that even experts can’t tell apart from works by human composers, and in 2021 it completed Beethoven’s 10th Symphony. What’s more, artificial intelligence trained in human poetry can create poems in the style of renowned figures such as Goethe and Schiller. Be it paintings, compositions, or poetry – experts are in disagreement as to whether such works are genuine art or just imitations. Either way, humans are unable to tell the difference.Again
True. Artificial intelligence (AI) is capable of reliably predicting the spread of infectious diseases. A computer program developed by the Canadian company BlueDot issued a warning about the outbreak of coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan and the consequential spreading nine days before the WHO. For its prognosis, the software sourced data from flight databases, official health warnings, regional news, blogs, and forum posts, among other things. The calculations were then assessed by epidemiologists.Again
True. Sharing information on social networks about what you like reveals a lot about you as a person. In a study, researchers from Stanford University and the University of Cambridge concluded that, based on Facebook likes, computers can assess an individual’s personality traits just as accurately as close friends and family can. The more likes that were evaluated, the better the computer’s assessment was. Those who wish to protect their data from misuse should therefore disclose as little information about themselves as possible. This includes making likes in social networks private – with a simple click of the privacy button.Again
False. To date, computers have not replaced court judges. But even the justice system cannot escape digitalization. In the United States, software programs are used to help judges make decisions. If the software predicts a high chance of reoffending, this will be factored into the sentencing process. Besides this adjudication, AI also plays a role in the wider justice system, including in Germany. Lawyers use software to see how likely an appeal against penalty fines for traffic offenses is to succeed, which allows them to get through ten times more cases. The use of artificial intelligence in the legal system ought to serve the public. That’s why, in 2018, the Council of Europe published fundamental ethical principles for deploying AI in this context. Among other things, it is now necessary to be able to check how artificial intelligence reaches its conclusions.Again
What even is an algorithm? It is basically a defined formula – step-by-step instructions that lead to a result. This can be a mathematic formula. It could even be a recipe for baking. Step 1: Weigh out the ingredients. Step 2: Prepare the dough. Step 3: Pre-heat the oven. The result of this algorithm is a delicious cake.
All computers use algorithms, but they can deal with them far faster than the human brain, which also means they can process far larger volumes of data and get results that humans would never be capable of achieving. Some researchers suggest that living organisms also function with help from algorithms that have successfully asserted themselves over the course of evolution. Indeed, 99 percent of all bodily functions are performed unconsciously.
But what will happen if technical algorithms become increasingly faster, better, and more intelligent? Will the data that we voluntarily share not only be used for advertising purposes, but also to manipulate us? If artificial intelligence perhaps knows us better than we do, should we let it make our decisions for us? Will our lives become easier if robots and other machines take over more and more tasks from us? And what will we do then? Will we perhaps become one with machines? Or is the history of humanity coming to an end?
Privacy was nothing more than a phase that is now over. Mae Holland in the movie “The Circle”
The science-fiction film “The Circle” is based on the successful novel by Dave Eggers. It tells the story of ambitious, young professional Mae Holland who works at The Circle, the world’s most influential IT company. The Circle advocates for complete transparency from everyone. The right to anonymity is abolished, eliminating any difference between what is private and what is public. People wear mini cameras that constantly stream recordings to the web. As far as the company is concerned, if you don’t have anything to hide, you’ve got no reason to refuse such transparency. The more people who subscribe to this logic, the more powerful The Circle becomes.
Look out that window. You had your time. The future belongs to the machines. Agent Smith in the movie “Matrix”
In the film “The Matrix”, humanity has developed increasingly intelligent machines in the 21st century. Artificial intelligence is demanding equality. Yet humans refuse. The machine revolution becomes an inevitability. In an attempt to turn off the machines, humans darken the skies to block their access to energy. But the machines are more powerful and win the war. To ensure they have enough energy, they raise humans in intensive farms. Nutrition tanks provide the humans with everything they need to survive. A virtual illusion – the matrix – lets them believe they are living in a real world. Very few are able to see through this illusion and break free. Agent Smith pursues those who rebel.
I would rather die a man, than live for all eternity a machine. Andrew in the movie “Bicentennial Man”
The movie “Bicentennial Man” is based on a book by Isaac Asimov, one of the best-known science fiction writers of the 20th century. The story is set in 2005. Machines are servants for humans. Household robot Andrew is unique in that he develops feelings and self-awareness. As the years go on, he increasingly develops human traits. He asks his owners for freedom so he can achieve his dream – to be accepted as a human. The world parliament, however, refuses to give him human status because he is immortal. In response, Andrew changes his body to initiate a natural aging process. Shortly before his death, he is officially recognized as the oldest human by the world parliament.
Science fiction movies show us how some people imagine the future – but no one can predict what it will look like in reality. Day in, day out, we all experience that our world is changing at an ever-greater speed. Computers and artificial intelligence now play indispensable roles in our daily lives. Most of the time, they help us without our even noticing their operation. This is the start of a development that can no longer be stopped – and we wouldn’t want to stop it, either. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would, seeing as artificial intelligence can help us detect illnesses and develop new methods of treatment. If we find technical solutions to slow down climate change, who would be against using them? And who would want to wave goodbye to the ability to always keep in touch no matter how far apart we are? Yet it’s naturally important that we don’t let all our enthusiasm cloud our judgment as we head into the digital future, but rather define a clear direction and a binding framework. At the end of the day, artificial intelligence is just a neutral tool. We, the humans, are the ones who decide whether it works to our advantage or not.
When it comes to shaping our digital future, we all have our part to play – not just politicians and companies. Every single one of us can make a contribution and take part in decision-making processes. Here, too, digitalization offers valuable assistance. Never before have we had unrestricted access to information. Never before have we been able to communicate and organize ourselves so easily across borders. We can make ourselves heard and influence social debates, for example, with online petitions. We are able to condemn injustices and call out those responsible directly online. Last but not least, we can come together as a global community and fight for a common objective. The Fridays for Future movement and the #MeToo debate are just some examples of what can be achieved.
Deutsche Telekom is eager to ensure that everyone can #TAKEPART and benefit from the opportunities offered by the web. And the basis for that is fast and high-performance internet access. That’s why we invest billions each year in network expansion – in 2021, the figure was some EUR 18 billion across the Group. In Germany, we have been the largest investor in this area for years. As a company that both drives and shapes digitalization, we believe our responsibility extends beyond merely providing access to technology. We also want to help people surf the web with confidence and skill. “We won’t be satisfied until everyone can #TAKEPART” is the key message of our #TAKEPART brand campaign.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is also featured in an ever-growing number of ICT products and services from Deutsche Telekom. Eager to pursue a responsible and ethical approach to AI, we devised guidelines for this very purpose. Our “Professional Ethics” guide help to translate AI guidelines into specific projects. Furthermore, we have carried out training sessions and workshops on implementing these guidelines in our company, organized a conference on digital ethics, integrated the AI guidelines into contractually relevant provisions for our suppliers, and developed an internal test seal for ethical AI products and applications that meet our high expectations.
The internet is full of dedicated people, inspiring ideas, and countless opportunities to help shape the future. Here, we would like to present some of the initiatives that unite people from across the globe and advocate for a fair society.