Mission AI. The New System Technology

Artificial intelligence (ai) is the combustion engine of the twenty-first century. The technology is currently moving out of the lab and into society, which raises the issue of its impact upon public values. In the publication Mission ai – The New System Technology, the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (wrr) offers a new perspective on this theme. ai can best be compared with the steam engine, electricity, the combustion engine and the computer. Such “system technologies” are ubiquitous, can be used for all kinds of purposes and change the economy and society in profound and unpredictable ways. We are currently at a turning point: ai needs to be embedded within society. The government in particular faces several tasks in this respect, including tackling unrealistic images of ai (demystification), creating a good environment for it to work in (contextualization), involving societal actors (engagement), drafting a broad regulatory agenda for ai (regulation) and reflecting on the Netherlands’ relationship with international parties in this domain (positioning).