The hidden costs of artificial intelligence, from natural resources and labour to privacy and freedom
What happens when artificial intelligence saturates political life and depletes the planet? How is AI shaping our understanding of ourselves and our societies? In this book Kate Crawford reveals how this planetary network is fueling a shift toward undemocratic governance and increased inequality. Drawing on more than a decade of research, award winning science, and technology, Crawford reveals how AI is a technology of extraction: from the energy and minerals needed to build and sustain its infrastructure, to the exploited workers behind 'automated' services, to the data AI collects from us.
Rather than taking a narrow focus on code and algorithms, Crawford offers us a political and a material perspective on what it takes to make artificial intelligence and where it goes wrong. While technical systems present a veneer of objectivity, they are always systems of power. This is an urgent account of what is at stake as technology companies use artificial intelligence to reshape the world.
"Eloquent, clear and profound--this volume is a classic for our times. It draws our attention away from the bright shiny objects of the new colonialism through elucidating the social, material and political dimensions of Artificial Intelligence."--Geoffrey C. Bowker, University of California, Irvine
"An insightful excursion into the processes, implications and ethics of data creation and manipulation in the 21st century. Ranging across terrains as diverse as mineral mines, server farms, distribution warehouses, and AI startups, Crawford shows vividly how our systems have grown to be 'dangerous when they fail and harmful when they work.'"--Joseph Turow, author of The Voice Catchers
"A must read. Moving from lithium mines to data extraction, from labor exploitation to government surveillance, Atlas of AI eloquently reveals how intelligence is 'made.' It displaces anemic calls for 'ethics' with probing investigations into the environmental degradation, capital accumulation, and labor conditions that AI makes possible."--Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, SFU's Canada 150 Chair in New Media
"Showing Artificial Intelligence as a technological achievement and cultural promise that spans politics, labor, land, and data, Crawford draws a unique and actionable map for seeing and challenging AI's power."--Mike Ananny, University of Southern California
"Kate Crawford looks at Artificial Intelligence with a humanist's eye and an artist's sense of what really matters. If you think AI is all about big data and machine learning, this marvelous book will remind you: it's about the natural world, and politics, and history, and sometimes, even beauty too." --Fred Turner, author of The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties
About the Author
Kate Crawford is a senior principal researcher at Microsoft Research, the inaugural visiting chair of AI and Justice at the École Normale Supérieure, and the Miegunyah distinguished visiting fellow at the University of Melbourne. She co- founded the AI Now Institute at New York University, and leads the Foundations of Machine Learning international working group. She lives in New York City.