Predictive AI

Definition & Introduction

Predictive AI refers to artificial intelligence systems that utilize statistical analysis and machine learning algorithms to make predictions about potential future outcomes, causation, risk exposure, and more.

Systems of this kind have been applied across numerous industries. For example:

  • Healthcare: leveraging patient data to diagnose diseases and model disease progression
  • Finance: predicting movements of markets and analyzing transaction data to detect fraud
  • Law enforcement: applying predictive AI within data fusion systems to investigate crimes and make predictions about who may be responsible
  • Retail and e-commerce: examining sales data, seasonality, and non-financial factors to optimize pricing strategies or forecast consumer demand
  • Insurance: streamlining claims management or forecasting potential losses to ensure adequate reserves are maintained

Although its uses are countless, there are accuracy, transparency, and accountability concerns associated with the use of these powerful systems. For more on this topic and the ethical implications that predictive AI present, explore the resources below.

Data Fusion & Surveillance

Impact on freedom, security, and human rights

Data fusion systems collate and analyze information like biometrics, CCTV camera feeds, outputs from license plate readers, social media activity, and more to generate hypotheses about who we are and what we do. These hypotheses can lead police to mistakenly infer that a person is guilty of a crime they did not commit.

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Understanding the Use of AI in Diplomacy

Many believe that large language models (LLMs) could support a large number of the information processing, media producing, and textual translation tasks that are requirements in the domain of diplomacy. But AI's use in this context extends beyond generative applications alone, and predictive AI could also be used for many diplomatic purposes.

What will be the ethical trade-offs of this practice?

Download the communiqué

AI Ethics & Governance

FEB 7, 2023 Podcast

Technology Governance and the Role of Multilateralism, with Amandeep Singh Gill

In this "AIEI" podcast, Wendell Wallach and Anja Kaspersen are joined by Ambassador Amandeep Singh Gill, UN Secretary-General Guterres' envoy on technology. They discuss some of the most critical political, technical, and ethical issues in the global discourse on technology governance.

FEB 21, 2023 Article

Human Rights Should be at the Heart of AI and Technology Governance

Building on a recent article from Anja Kaspersen and Wendell Wallach, Chatham House's Kate Jones writes that human rights need to be central to a reset of technology and artificial intelligence governance.

Cybersecurity. CREDIT: Pixabay.

CREDIT: Pixabay.

The Impact of Novel AI

Senior Fellow Arthur Holland Michel and Chris Gilliard discuss why the arc of novel AI, like predictive artificial intelligence, bends towards outcomes that disproportionately harm society's most vulnerable people.

Listen to the podcast

Discussion Questions

  1. Who should be held responsible for a harmful outcome resulting from a predictive AI system?
  2. Should predictive AI applications be required to provide insights about how a particular prediction is made?
  3. How can organizations limit bias and the discriminatory potential of the predictive AI they deploy?
  4. What effects might predictive AI have on economic factors like unemployment rate, inequality of opportunity, and social mobility?
  5. Is an international framework for the governance of predictive AI needed, and if so, how could it effectively protect the civil liberties of citizens across the globe?

Additional Off-site Resources

Artificial intelligence and predictive algorithms in medicine

Susan P. Phillips, Shery Spithoff, and Amber Simpson explore the promise and problems with leveraging predictive algorithms in a healthcare context.


What is predictive AI?

This entry in Cloudflare's Learning Center defines predictive AI and explains how the technology works.


Generative AI vs. Predictive AI

The Upwork Team explores the differences between generative and predictive AI and outlines benefits and challenges for both.