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Common approach to demystify black box AI not ready for prime time

Common approach to demystify black box AI not ready for prime time

Black box artificial intelligence (AI) is a term used to describe AI systems where it is difficult or impossible to understand how they work. This is in contrast to white box AI, where the inner workings of the AI system are transparent and understandable.

There is a growing trend in the development of black box AI systems, as they are often seen as being more effective than white box AI. However, this trend is not without its critics, who argue that black box AI is not ready for prime time and can be dangerous.

One of the main criticisms of black box AI is that it is opaque and incomprehensible. This can make it difficult to trust and to ensure that the AI system is acting in the best interests of the users. Additionally, black box AI systems can be difficult to debug and to improve, as it can be hard to understand why they are making certain decisions.

Another concern is that black box AI systems can be biased. This is because they often learn from data that is itself biased. For example, if an AI system is trained on data that is biased against women, it is likely to be biased against women itself. This can lead to harmful and discriminatory outcomes.

There are also ethical concerns associated with black box AI. For example, if an AI system is used to make decisions about who to hire or fire, it may end up perpetuating existing social biases. Additionally, black box AI systems may be used to make decisions about things like credit scores and insurance premiums, which could have a profound and negative impact on people’s lives.

Despite these concerns, black box AI systems are often seen as being more effective than white box AI systems. This is because they are not limited by our human understanding of how they work. Black box AI systems can learn from data in ways that we cannot even comprehend.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to use black box AI or white box AI is a trade-off. Black box AI systems have the potential to be more effective, but they also come with risks. White box AI systems are more understandable and transparent, but they may not be able to achieve the same level of performance.


The so-called “black box” of AI has been a major obstacle to its wider adoption. Businesses are often reluctant to use AI because they don’t understand how it works and fear that it could make decisions that are inexplicable and potentially harmful.

Researchers have therefore been trying to develop methods to “demystify” black box AI and make it more transparent. One common approach is called “algorithmic transparency”, which aims to make the algorithms that power AI more understandable to humans.

However, a new study from MIT and Harvard University suggests that algorithmic transparency is not yet ready for prime time. The study found that even when presented with explanations of how an AI algorithm arrived at a particular decision, people were often unable to understand or correctly interpret the information.

This suggests that businesses should still be cautious about using AI, even if there are methods available to help explain how it works. Until more research is done on how to effectively communicate the inner workings of AI, businesses should proceed with caution and use other methods to ensure that AI-powered decisions are fair and just.

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