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3. Will we Succeed in Making the AI Revolution Work for Everyone?

Will we Succeed in Making the AI Revolution Work for Everyone?

Nicolas Miailhe
p. 64-65

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1Is this time different?” is the question that expert worryingly argue over when they analyze the socio-economic impact of the AI revolution as compared with the previous industrial revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries.

2This Schumpeterian wave may prove to be a creative destruction raising incomes, enhancing quality of life for all and generating previously unimagined jobs to replace those that get automatized. Or it may turn out to be a destructive creation leading to mass unemployment abuses, or loss of control over decision-making processes. This depends on the velocity and magnitude of the development and diffusion of AI technologies, a point over which experts diverge widely. Policy-makers need to invest more resources to develop a finer understanding of the very notion and dynamics of the AI revolution. Moreover, societies’ and cities abilities to shape the AI revolution into a “creative destruction” and diffuse its benefits to all will mostly depend on how societies react, both individually and collectively.

3Technology is certainly not destiny and policy as well as institutional choices will matter greatly. Making the AI revolution work for everyone will require the reform and the potential reinvention of social security, redistribution mechanisms, as well as education and skill development systems, to allow for repeated and viable professional transitions. Policy and regulatory frameworks will also need rebalancing to protect the most vulnerable from socio-economic exclusion, to prevent algorithmic discrimination and privacy abuses, to ensure control and accountability, as well as to avoid an exacerbation of wealth and opportunity inequalities.

4To discuss the challenges of governance in the age of AI, Geoffrey Delcroix from the French Data Protection Agency (CNIL) introduces a prospective scenario featuring Lille, a French city, in 2027 which has recently introduced a civic chatbot powered by Artificial intelligence. In a second article, Geoffrey presents different innovative data governance scenarios that cities could embrace to capture the upsides of the Big Data revolution striking the right balance between private and public interests. Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye then dives deeper in the analysis of the privacy challenge posed by the rise of machine learning algorithms. He discusses the limit to de-identification techniques in the age of machine learning algorithms which enable massive correlation at scale and outlines possible solutions based on privacy-by‑design approach.

5With Laurent Alexandre, we then discuss the geopolitics of AI, analyzing global power dynamics, the new competition between Europe, America and Asia and approaches to governance and regulation. Subsequently, Samer Hassan and Primavera de Filippi discuss the challenges associated with the increasing prevalence of algorithms at the center of governance process. As we rely more and more on digital platforms to live, work and socialize, the code that is used to run these programs becomes the new law. It forms a new regulatory system impacting us all on a daily basis. And as the autonomy of these algorithms develops with the rise of machine learning, new types of risks emerge in terms of fairness and due process. Designing algorithms becomes a political process whereby we need to embed and adapt our values in the code.

6Andy Palanisamy addresses the dynamics and challenges of the march towards automated vehicles in how they can help address global mobility needs. While calling for a realist approach where we don’t over emphasize the contribution of autonomous cars vis à vis mass transit systems, Andy argues that cities provide an appropriate environment for self-driving cars. That’s because of their density combined the maturity of ride sharing platforms which should lead to the rise of mobility-as-a-service solutions.

7Finally, with Roland Ries, Mayor of Strasbourg, we discuss how cities can embrace the rise of new digital platforms powered by algorithms and respond to the challenges they pose. Grounded in pragmatism, he advocates for a balanced approach whereby cities work in tandem with other governance layers to mitigate the toxic effects of deregulation while leveraging the potential of these new shared services to do more with less and address citizens’ needs, including in terms of jobs and purchasing power.

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Bibliographical reference

Nicolas Miailhe, « Will we Succeed in Making the AI Revolution Work for Everyone? », Field Actions Science Reports, Special Issue 17 | 2017, 64-65.

Electronic reference

Nicolas Miailhe, « Will we Succeed in Making the AI Revolution Work for Everyone? », Field Actions Science Reports [Online], Special Issue 17 | 2017, Online since 31 December 2017, connection on 22 October 2018. URL :

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Nicolas Miailhe


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