Door: Haroon Sheikh , Corien Prins , Erik Schrijvers
“In this report we discuss what AI is and how the technology can be characterised. There is a vast amount of literature on the impact that AI applications have in various domains. However, to get to a cross-sectional study of the impact of AI, we need to take a step back and ask what kind of technology we are dealing with.
One of AI’s distinctive characteristics is the breadth of its applications. The academic literature refers to technologies that lend themselves to wide-ranging applications as ‘general purpose technologies’. When understood as such, AI is comparable with the steam engine, electricity and the internal combustion engine. With that in mind, this report uses analogies with earlier technologies as the basis of its reasoning. The term we have adopted to convey the nature of AI is ‘system technology’, with the word ‘system’ here referring to the many different technologies that comprise and are associated with AI, as well as its systemic impact on society.”