This paper presents an introduction to a number of social issues which may arise as a result of the diffusion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications from the laboratory to the workplace and marketplace. Four such applications are chosen for discussion: expert systems, image processing, robotics, and natural language understanding. These are briefly characterized and possible areas of misuse are explored. Of the many social issues of concern, four are selected for treatment here as representative of other potential problems likely to follow such a powerful technology as AI. These four are work (how much and of what kind), privacy (on which the assault continues), decision-making (by whom and for whose benefit), and social organization (how in a society in which intelligent systems perform so many functions). Finally it is argued that both a major programme of study in this field be launched and that practitioners assume the responsibility to inform the public about their work.
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