The Discursive Paradox of AI Criticism
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract in English only.
In the dominant discourse of the "human–machine relationship," people and machines are the subjects, with a mutually shaping influence. However, this framework neglects the crux of the current critical analysis of AI. It reduces the problems with new technology to the relationship between people and machines, ignoring the re-shaping of the relationship between "people and people" in the era of new technology. This simplification may mislead policy and legal regulations for new technologies. Why would a robot killing cause more panic than a murder committed by a human? Why is a robot's misdiagnosis more troubling than a doctor's? Why do patients assume that machines make more accurate diagnoses than doctors? When a medical accident occurs, who is responsible for the mistakes of an intelligent medical system? In the framework of traditional professionalism, the relationship between doctors and patients, whether trusted or not, is based on the premise that doctors have specialized knowledge that patients do not possess. Therefore, the authority of a doctor is the authority of knowledge. In the age of intelligence, do machines provide information or knowledge? Can this strengthen or weaken the authority of doctors? It is likely that in the age of intelligence, the professionalism, authority and trustworthiness of doctors require a new knowledge base. Therefore, the de-skilling of doctors is not an issue of individual doctors, but demands an update of the knowledge of the entire industry. Recognizing this, policy makers must not focus solely on the use of machines, but take a wider perspective, considering how to promote the development of doctors and coordinate the relationship between doctors with different levels of knowledge development. We often ask, "In the era of intelligence, what defines a human?" This philosophical thinking should be directed toward not only the difference between machines and people as individuals, but also how the relationship between human beings, i.e., the social nature of humans, evolves in different technological environments. In short, this commentary stresses that a "good" machine or an "evil" machine—beyond the sci-fi romance of such discourse—reflects the evolution of the relationships between people. In today's smart age, the critical issue is not the relationship between people and machines. It is how people adjust their relationships with other people as machines become necessary tools in life. In the era of intelligence, therefore, our legislation, policy and ethical discussion should resume their focus on evolutionary relationships between people.
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