An Equity Lens on Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) describes machines that can simulate some forms of human intelligence. Some conceptualizations of AI refer to machines that act indistinguishably from humans, while others focus more on ‘machine learning’ that can identify patterns, achieve an optimized outcome to a given problem, and/or make predictions and decisions based on prior information.

To achieve these goals, AI uses algorithms that ‘learn’ from large data sets and adjust and improve over time based on new data. While not a new concept, AI is increasingly embedded in people’s lives and will only become more pervasive.

Organizations across many sectors use AI for a variety of purposes: hiring employees, performing surgeries, tutoring school subjects, making decisions about criminal sentencing, making lending decisions, automating driving, and predicting where crime will occur, to name a few. AI is also used to make recommendations for what people watch on television or the music they listen to; to select which advertisements to show users on social media; and to display results on online search engines.

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