At an AI forum recently I posed the question: ‘Centrelink, robodebt collection, discuss’. I thought it was pretty pithy bit of questioning on one of the most controversial and high profile activities in the Australia. The responses from the very respectable panellists were even pithier; ‘Artificial Stupidity’ and ‘Criminal’ didn’t leave a lot of doubt as to their opinion.
Yesterday, former colleague Jim Walker shared a LinkedIn post and news article on the class-action challenge to Centrelink’s Robodebt-collection program which he starts ‘Halleluja. This was a disaster from day one.’
We are at a time when Artificial Intelligence is starting to deliver in a significant way. We are also at a time when the ethics of the largest social media/data companies is being questioned and trust in government and its institutions are under great pressure.
Currently it appears that much of the public and many of the professionals are united in their opposition to robodebt collection and there may be a significant stouch afoot. On the other hand perhaps the class-action is just the vehicle Australia needs to develop our collective AI understanding and work out what we want it to do for us.