18 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 299 2019 that cultivates more scorn and contempt than compassion for the poor, among whom racial minorities are disproportionately represented. In the United States, particularly, federal and state policies have directed billions of dollars more toward prisons and militarized policing of the poor than toward education and healthcare for those same people. As a result, the country commands the number one spot as the world’s top incarceration nation. Absent a drastic shift in American politics, it is difficult to imagine how a technologically driven, rapid increase in AI labor-automation would not end disastrously for most people. The rise of nationalist political parties on a global scale, moreover, that target the poor, immigrants, and racial minorities as an existential threat does not bode well for a future in which accelerating inequality will demand transnational synergies and collaboration to ensure a viable existence for humankind. Data, Ethics, and Technocracy Technology innovation, of which AI is an especially powerful example, has proceeded most vigorously through information science. This might be more familiar to contemporary readers as “data science.” This latter term has become both a mantra and a chief paradigm for business, culture, entertainment, and security. It was only a few decades ago that most companies had never heard of a chief information officer (CIO). Today, executive administration of an organization’s information is as standard as financial accounting. Information, in fact, is now the most valuable asset a company possesses. Data science uses software (algorithms) to interpret massive data sets (the equivalent of millions of DVDs-worth of information, for instance) to produce insights into the real world. Such large sets of data are beyond what any human could possibly handle. But algorithms quickly churn through thousands of data points on a single individual to discern patterns of behavior so well that the software can reliably predict what people will do. Will you want to purchase a new hat
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