In their latest insight, BMT looks at how AI can solve a complex problem. Increasingly, we are bombarded by a growing number of problems that often seem impossible to solve, creating a culture of challenge, unacceptance, and anxiety. When faced with issues such as climate change, nuclear power, global poverty and, increasingly, the ethics of using AI, it is difficult to remain impartial. Yet trying to remain current on these issues is proving continually problematic, meaning our views and understanding are ever being swept along and drowned in the torrent of media and the academics’ need to publish or perish.
This is because issues such as climate change and global poverty are wicked problems. They are inherently so complex and evolving, that it becomes near impossible to untangle the web of information into manageable parts. They are built of so many interconnected pieces, that they lack clarity and boundaries, and (possibly most concerning) are exclusive, so cannot rely on previous experience or principles to enable a solution. As the problem is so broad, there is often an inability to fully grasp what the issue and its scope actually is. Without this understanding, wicked problems lack clear objectives – there can be direction and improvements but no way of confirming success. And given that wicked problems are bound by real-world controls and restraints, even implementing those incremental developments is fraught with risk and hard won against policy, budget, and, particularly, human behaviour.
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