Artificial intelligence and identity: the rise of the statistical individual

AI and Society:1-13 (forthcoming)
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Algorithms are used across a wide range of societal sectors such as banking, administration, and healthcare to make predictions that impact on our lives. While the predictions can be incredibly accurate about our present and future behavior, there is an important question about how these algorithms in fact represent human identity. In this paper, we explore this question and argue that machine learning algorithms represent human identity in terms of what we shall call the statistical individual. This statisticalized representation of individuals, we shall argue, differs significantly from our ordinary conception of human identity, which is tightly intertwined with considerations about biological, psychological, and narrative continuity—as witnessed by our most well-established philosophical views on personal identity. Indeed, algorithmic representations of individuals give no special attention to biological, psychological, and narrative continuity and instead rely on predictive properties that significantly exceed and diverge from those that we would ordinarily take to be relevant for questions about how we are.

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Jacob Busch
University of Aarhus

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References found in this work

The extended mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.
On statistical criteria of algorithmic fairness.Brian Hedden - 2021 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 49 (2):209-231.

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