Posted on Leave a comment

The Global Crisis of Nutrition and Mental Health

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_color=”#f7f7f4″][et_pb_row custom_padding=”|||” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_post_title meta=”off” featured_placement=”above” text_color=”light” text_background=”on” text_bg_color=”#313a54″ admin_label=”Post Title” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ title_font=”Rokkitt||||” title_text_color=”#e6e5e9″ title_font_size=”63px” meta_text_color=”#727c86″ text_orientation=”center” custom_css_post_image=”margin-bottom: -15px;||padding: 0% 3% !important;”][/et_pb_post_title][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”Section” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_color=”#f7f7f4″ custom_padding=”0px|||” custom_padding_tablet=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_image src=”https://worldbrainacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Dr-Crawford-cirdular-photo-e1495649597761.png” show_bottom_space=”off” align=”center” admin_label=”Image” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ custom_margin=”-48px|||” animation=”off” sticky=”on”][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – Author name” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Sans||||” text_text_color=”#323232″ text_font_size=”18″ text_line_height=”1.4em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” text_orientation=”center” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”14px||0px|”]Dr. Michael Crawford
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – date” _builder_version=”3.4.1″ text_font=”PT Sans|on|||” text_text_color=”#363636″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” text_orientation=”center” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”0px|||”]

Global Nutrition Expert

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – intro” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”24″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.4em” header_font=”PT Serif||||” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”40px||0px|”]Last century the average height rose by about 0.4 inches/decade. Death from heart disease rose from a rarity at the beginning to be the first cause of mortality by half way through. Working at Makerere Medical College in Kampala, Uganda in the 1960s, it was clear that heart disease as was common in the UK, was absent in Uganda. Similarly, breast and colon cancers were absent. Oh yes, they had other health problems such as endomyocardial fibrosis (EMF) which was the commonest cause of death from heart failure, a disorder hardly ever seen in the UK. The commonest surgical emergency was volvulus of the sigmoid colon: an excruciatingly painful condition. Again volvulus is hardly ever seen in the UK. Primary carcinoma of the liver was common in children. In the UK primary liver cancer in children is rare and cancer of the liver is usually secondary to alcoholism.
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – blog 1″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”20″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.5em” header_font=”PT Serif||||” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”30px||0px|”]

Research-based findings

We published some 60 peer reviewed papers in academic journals like the Lancet and Nature and British Journal of cancer the conclusion of which was that the difference between disease profile in Uganda versus the UK was basically nutritional. Yes, Burkett’s lymphoma first described by Dennis Burkett working with the NIH-USA Cancer Registry team at Makerere was the first proven cancer identified as caused by a virus. The contrast between Uganda and the UK was undoubtedly due to the contrasts in the two different food systems.

Yes, lifestyle came into it. However, lifestyle—let’s say lack of exercise—also has a nutritional fundamental. It influences what people eat and importantly what their body does with food ultimately determining how an individual’s cells and organs are fed. That is nutrition. Indeed, a famous scientist Bill Lands of the USA concluded many years ago that “the tissue is the issue”. We all vary in genetics and hence metabolic efficiency and we all do different physical things. What matters is what ends up in the tissues and that is nutrition.

Consequently, on return from East Africa to head biochemistry at the then Nuffield Institute for Comparative Medicine in London, I was astounded by the contrast in what people were eating in the UK compared to Uganda. Meat was not recognizable as meat. It was an apology of tissue infiltrated and marbled with fat consequent on absence of exercise, feeding the animals with high energy foods, antibiotics and growth promoters. I described this contrast in the Lancet in 1968.

The cost of mental ill-health was assessed at £27 billion. This was a cost greater than heart disease and cancer combined! When assessed in 2011 the cost came in at £105 billion. The Wellcome Trust website independently put the cost in 2013 at £113 billion. Moreover, mental ill-health is being globalized. If brain disorders continue to increase this century as heart disease did last, then we are looking at the breakdown of civilized society. It is time for action.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_width_px=”830px” use_custom_gutter=”on” gutter_width=”2″ custom_padding=”50px|||” custom_padding_tablet=”17px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” custom_padding_last_edited=”on|tablet” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”3_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_image src=”https://worldbrainacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Uganda-cattle-MOD.jpg” show_bottom_space=”off” admin_label=”Image” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ animation_style=”fade” animation_duration=”500ms” animation=”fade_in” sticky=”on”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ custom_css_main_element=”width:130px;” hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||on||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”16″ text_line_height=”1em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”130px” custom_margin=”20px||0px|”]Cattle freely living and nurturing in Uganda.
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||on||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”12″ text_line_height=”1.2em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”130px” custom_margin=”6px|||”]Dr. Michael Crawford
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – blog 2″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”20″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.5em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”46px||0px|”]Consequently, on return from East Africa to head biochemistry at the then Nuffield Institute for Comparative Medicine in London, I was astounded by the contrast in what people were eating in the UK compared to Uganda. Meat was not recognizable as meat. It was an apology of tissue infiltrated and marbled with fat consequent on absence of exercise, feeding the animals with high energy foods, antibiotics and growth promoters. I described this contrast in the Lancet in 1968.

You can work it out quite simply without going into the detailed loss of essential fatty acids and other nutrients. A carcass fat content was 30% and lean 50%. This compared with a free-living equivalent in East Africa with 5% fat and 75% lean. Muscle (meat) in 4/5ths water so it is 1/5th protein and 1/5th of 50% lean is 10%. There are 4 calories per gram of protein so that equates to 10 times 4 = 40 calorie equivalents for the meat of an intensively reared UK animal. In Uganda, living animals are free to select their own food. The equivalent is 15 times 4 which is 60 calories equivalents: more! However let’s look at the fat. There are 9 calories per gram of fat. In the free living animal you get 9 times 5% which equals 45. In the UK animal, it is 9 times 30 which equals 270—a  great deal more indeed. That works out at 9 times the amount of fat per unit of protein on the UK animal compared to the Ugandan.

Now being trained in biochemistry and chemical pathology I had some idea about certain fatty acids which occur in tissue cell membranes being essential for life. You cannot make them so you need to get them in your food. The omega 6 fatty acids were known to be required for mammalian reproduction. There were also the omega 3 which people said were not needed. Nine of the less they appear in cell membranes. There was a consensus at the time that bad fats, sugar and purified carbohydrates were responsible for the rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Saturated fats and transisomers were linked to atherosclerosis, thrombosis and coronary artery disease. These sorts of bad fats competed with the omega 6 essential fats. If there was a problem with bad fats, I thought what then about the brain which is made of fat – 60% of its building materials are highly specialized fats. Andrew Sinclair and I then set about analyzing the fats from the brains of 32 different species.

What we found was that they were all the same. The difference was in size not content. There are two fatty acids that were major constituents, arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids. Arachidonic acid could be obtained from meat. By contrast, DHA was sparsely available on the land based food web but was very rich in the marine food web where it was also associated with iodine, another nutrient vital for the brain. We established already in 1973 that a deficiency of omega 3 fatty acids caused severe behavioral disorders in capuchin monkeys.
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”50px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – quote” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”37px” text_font_size_phone=”32px” text_font_size_last_edited=”on|phone” text_line_height=”1.3em” header_font_size=”37px” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”900px” custom_margin=”16px||30px|”]”If brain disorders continue to increase this century as heart disease did last, then we are looking at the breakdown of civilized society. It is time for action.”
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”17px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – blog 3″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”20″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.5em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”30px||0px|”]Later with Pierre Budowski from Rehovolt, in Israel, we showed that a diet rich in the omega 6 linoleic acid and deficient of the omega 3, fed to hatchling chickens resulted in bleeding and inflammation in the cerebellum of the chicks. The cerebrum is formed before hatching so the chicks can identify the mother and go about copying her feeding. The cerebellum by contrast develops after hatching as it has more to do with balance and coordination which in birds involves flying and that comes a few weeks later. However, the chicks fed the omega 3 deficient diet all died within 3 weeks. Add omega 3 to the diet and none died! Hence we concluded omega 3 fatty acids were truly essential and especially for the brain.

The, meat in the UK was so swimming in body fat that any arachidonic acid would clearly have a hard time making it to your tissues. The increasing use of intensively reared foods produced at cheaper prices meant that the traditional use of fish and sea foods was going out of the window. Remember that during food rationing during and after World War II, meat and milk were rationed but fish and sea food were not. Everyone ate fish and sea foods of all sorts including whale meat.

My wife and I then wrote a book in 1971. It was a story of our experience in nutrition and health in Africa and the contrast with the UK. In the book we predicted that unless action was taken to prioritize the nutrition of the human brain, then the accumulation of the wrong type of fats in the modern diet would result in a rise in brain disorders following the rise in heart disease.

The book was reviewed by Graham Rose in the Sunday Times. He essentially wrote that unless something was done “We would become a Race of Morons”. He clearly got the message. The problem is that no one else did or they did not want to get it!

In the scientific method a prediction is made and then tested to be true or false. We made a prediction in 1972 which was made crystal clear in the pages of the Sunday Times. With inaction, the prediction has been tested and now proved to be true.
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”980″ custom_padding=”50px||0px|” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_image src=”https://worldbrainacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Mental-Hlealth-1-MOD.jpg” align=”center” admin_label=”Image” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ animation=”off”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”17px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – blog 4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”20″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.5em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”30px||0px|”]Brain disorders have now overtaken all
other burdens of ill-health. In 2004 the
cost was €386 billion for the EU. Of course
the critics said that ascendency was due to new diagnostics and new types of mental ill health. Well even so, at the top of the tree someone should have been concerned. A re- assessment was called for. In 2010 the cost of brain disorders was put at €789 billion. Following a question we had asked in Parliament Dr Jo Nurse at the DoH did the numbers for the UK in 2007.

The cost of mental ill-health was assessed at £77 billion. This was a cost greater than heart disease and cancer combined! When reassessed in 2011 the cost came in at
£105 billion. The Wellcome Trust Web site independently put the cost in 2013 at £113 billion. Moreover, mental ill-health is being globalised. If brain disorders continue to increase this century as heart disease did last then we are looking at the breakdown of civilised society. It is time for action.

As a species we have the rare capability to predict and respond. We can respond in a way to safeguard the future. We can either have 
a breakdown of society or achieve continued evolution of mental capabilities, health, and with it, prosperity. That is the choice. At the moment the direction being taken is to travel down the breakdown pathway. That choice 
is through ignorance. With the globalisation of mental ill-health we are facing the most serious threat to humanity. It is the future of our children that is at stake.
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Posted on Leave a comment

Artificial Intelligence: Friend or Foe?

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_color=”#f7f7f4″][et_pb_row custom_padding=”|||” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_post_title meta=”off” featured_placement=”above” text_color=”light” text_background=”on” text_bg_color=”#313a54″ admin_label=”Post Title” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ title_font=”Rokkitt||||” title_text_color=”#e6e5e9″ title_font_size=”63px” meta_text_color=”#727c86″ text_orientation=”center” custom_css_post_image=”margin-bottom: -15px;||padding: 0% 3% !important;”][/et_pb_post_title][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”Section” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_color=”#f7f7f4″ custom_padding=”0px|||” custom_padding_tablet=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_image src=”https://worldbrainacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Manahel-Thabet-circular-photo-e1495574003567.png” show_bottom_space=”off” align=”center” admin_label=”Image” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ custom_margin=”-48px|||” animation=”off” sticky=”on”][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – Author name” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Sans||||” text_text_color=”#323232″ text_font_size=”18″ text_line_height=”1.4em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” text_orientation=”center” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”14px||0px|”]Manahle Thabet, PhD
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – Author info” _builder_version=”3.4.1″ text_font=”PT Sans|on|||” text_text_color=”#363636″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” text_orientation=”center” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”0px|||”]

Brain expert

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – intro” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”24″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.4em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”40px||0px|”]We are living in the age of algorithms, and AI is the natural next step in this age’s evolution. We can’t excise the tech from our lives, but we can benefit from it more and protect even the most vulnerable from abuses by shaping how we use it.
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – blog 1″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”20″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.5em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”30px||0px|”]

AI: The tool

Many people worry about artificial intelligence (AI) eliminating jobs and displacing workers, or even taking over human society. A February 2016 report from Citibank and the University of Oxford predicted that automation threatens 47 percent of U.S. jobs, 35 percent of U.K. jobs, and 77 percent of jobs in China. An August report from Forrester stated that customer service and transportation jobs will be gone by 2025, and that we’ll feel the impact of this change within five years.

These fears aren’t unfounded, but they may need refocusing. Few of us understand what algorithms are or how they work; to most of us, they are invisible. Like the electricity that flows unseen and taken for granted throughout our homes, offices, and cities, we don’t notice the many ways that algorithms already shape our experiences, large and small.

This is a problem, because the disconnect between understanding what algorithms do, how they work, and how we should be shepherding their use and our ideas about AI are artificially and unreasonably detached. Yes, algorithms control how AI works. However, they also control how we work to a large extent — and we made them that way because it saves us time and effort.

Algorithms run the internet and make all online searching possible. They direct our email along with us when using our GPS systems. Smartphone apps, social media, software: none of these things would function without algorithms. AI is also dependent on algorithms, and in fact is the next-level extension of our life in the age of algorithms; what we’ve done is teach algorithms to write other new algorithms, and to learn and teach themselves.

Just as we once feared that computers would put us all out of work, we now fear that AI will take all of our jobs away. We have seen the next level of our algorithmic age, and we’re not sure what to make of it. Evolution is never totally predictable and is often messy.

However, part of the way we navigate this transition successfully is by learning to see what it is that we’re concerned about, and what’s actually present around us right now. Pew Research Center and the Imagining the Internet Center of Elon University recently polled 1,302 scholars, technology experts, government leaders, and corporate practitioners about what will happen in the next decade. The respondents were asked just one question: will the net overall effect of algorithms be positive or negative for individuals and society?
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_width_px=”830px” use_custom_gutter=”on” gutter_width=”2″ custom_padding=”50px|||” custom_padding_tablet=”17px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” custom_padding_last_edited=”on|tablet” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”3_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_image src=”https://worldbrainacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Artificial-Intelligence-3-e1495573465171.jpg” show_bottom_space=”off” admin_label=”Image” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ animation_style=”fade” animation_duration=”500ms” animation=”fade_in” sticky=”on”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ custom_css_main_element=”width:130px;” hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||on||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”16″ text_line_height=”1em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”130px” custom_margin=”20px||0px|”]Robot and human hands.
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||on||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”12″ text_line_height=”1.2em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”130px” custom_margin=”6px|||”]Illustration by Martin Ivan den Heuvel
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – blog 2″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”20″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.5em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”46px||0px|”]

Net benefits

The canvassing of these respondents, which was non-scientific from a statistical perspective, found that 38 percent of the respondents predicted that the benefits of algorithms will outweigh the detriments for both individuals and society in general, while 37 percent felt the opposite way, and 25 percent thought it would be a draw. These results are interesting, but what was really significant were the respondents’ written comments elaborating their positions. There were seven general themes that emerged in the answers as a whole.

Almost all respondents agreed that algorithms are essentially invisible to the public, and that their influence will increase exponentially over the next decade. Barry Chudakov of Sertain Research and StreamFuzion Corp. breaks down the significance for Pew:

“Algorithms are the new arbiters of human decision-making in almost any area we can imagine. […] They are also a goad to consider [human] cognition: How are we thinking and what does it mean to think through algorithms to mediate our world? The main positive result of this is better understanding of how to make rational decisions, and in this measure a better understanding of ourselves. […] The main negative changes come down to a simple but now quite difficult question: How can we see, and fully understand the implications of, the algorithms programmed into everyday actions and decisions?”

We need to learn to see the ways we are thinking through algorithms so we can ensure we maintain oversight over our decisions and actions — and so we know their limitations and our own.

Another theme is that great benefits will keep coming, thanks to algorithms and AI: we will be processing and understanding far more data, and achieving more breakthroughs in science, technological conveniences, and access to information. This will mean healthcare decisions made with more of the whole picture in mind and decisions on bank loans considered with more context and detail. It might even mean an end to unfair practices like gerrymandering — which utterly depend on old-school ways of drawing up voting areas and disappear when algorithms draw them up instead.

Theme three is less rosy: advances in algorithms and big data sets will mean corporations and governments hold all of the cards and set all of the parameters. If algorithms are created to optimize and achieve profitability for a particular set of people without regard to the rest, AI and algorithms won’t correct this imbalance, but will make it worse. Clemson University assistant professor in human-centered computing Bart Knijnenburg told Pew: “Algorithms will capitalize on convenience and profit, thereby discriminating [against] certain populations, but also eroding the experience of everyone else. […] My biggest fear is that, unless we tune our algorithms for self-actualization, it will be simply too convenient for people to follow the advice of an algorithm (or, too difficult to go beyond such advice), turning these algorithms into self-fulfilling prophecies and users into zombies who exclusively consume easy-to-consume items.”

 
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”50px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – quote” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”37px” text_font_size_phone=”32px” text_font_size_last_edited=”on|phone” text_line_height=”1.3em” header_font_size=”37px” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”900px” custom_margin=”16px||30px|”]”I foresee algorithms replacing almost all workers with no real options for the replaced humans”
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”17px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – blog 3″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”20″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.5em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”30px||0px|”]The fourth theme has to do with biases that exist even in systems that are organized by algorithms. Even the most well-intentioned, inclusive, neutral algorithm creators build their own perspectives into their code, and there are even deficiencies and limitations within the datasets to which algorithms are applied.

Theme five centers upon the potential of access to algorithmically-aided living to deepen already existing cultural and political divides. Consider the differences that exist even now between groups of people consuming algorithmically-driven political news — more and more distinct ideological classes with less and less in common, and less empathy for each other. Algorithmic living makes it more possible for us to avoid and exclude each other; what will the end result of this separation be?

Or, as another example, consider the potential divide between the many highly-educated people who are learning to “biohack” or use nootropics to enhance their lives, and the numerous people of lower socioeconomic classes who lack education and the means or desire to engage in these activities — and lack access as well, even if they hoped to remain upwardly mobile in the algorithm age. Could this kind of progressively deepening division be enhanced by algorithmic living, and will it result in a kind of socio-biounderclass?

The sixth theme concerns unemployment, and many respondents do see the age of the algorithm as the age of mass unemployment. This unattributed response from one person surveyed reflects this overall theme: “I foresee algorithms replacing almost all workers with no real options for the replaced humans.” Other respondents emphasized the need for a universal basic income (UBI) to ensure that even those who have less access and ability to adapt to the changing economy have a basic means for survival.

The final theme from the report: the growing need for algorithmic oversight, transparency, and literacy.

Many respondents advocated for public algorithmic literacy education — the computer literacy of the 21st century — and for a system of accountability for those who create and evolve algorithms. Altimeter Group industry analyst Susan Etlinger told Pew, “Much like the way we increasingly wish to know the place and under what conditions our food and clothing are made, we should question how our data and decisions are made as well. What is the supply chain for that information? Is there clear stewardship and an audit trail? Were the assumptions based on partial information, flawed sources or irrelevant benchmarks? […] If there were ever a time to bring the smartest minds in industry together with the smartest minds in academia to solve this problem, this is the time.”
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”980″ custom_padding=”50px||0px|” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_image src=”https://worldbrainacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Birth-of-Artificial-Intelligence-e1495574665832.jpg” align=”center” admin_label=”Image” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ animation=”off”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”17px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – blog 4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”20″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.5em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”30px||0px|”]

Putting algorithms to work

One of the most important takeaways to glean from this report — and indeed, all reporting on AI right now — is that there is no way to excise algorithms and the advances that are coming with them, such as AI, from our lives. Even if we wanted to, for example, live without all computer technology, it’s too late. That means that strategic planning for the future isn’t about pointlessly trying to ban things that are already coming. The smarter course is to find ways to make algorithms and AI technology work for us.

If we can collaborate with it, AI has the potential to make our working lives better, giving us higher levels of job satisfaction, relieving us of more dangerous and less interesting work. It can also ensure that the best candidates get jobs, and otherwise work to equalize the playing field — if we can ensure that’s how it learns to operate. We are deeply flawed teachers, considering that workplace discrimination, for example, persists. However, with self-awareness and algorithmic literacy, we can also teach ourselves.
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]