Visions of the future clashed during South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive in Austin, as some experts saw an uncertain future, some saw an unbounded future and some were frustrated by the present.

As for uncertainty, the worlds of big data, artificial intelligence and government are just beginning to collide, and public policy decisions made now will cast shadows far into the future, panelists agreed at a session titled, Data Ethics in the Age of the Quantified Society.

“We are at an inflection point,” said Nicole Wong, former White House policy adviser. “We are paving the roads for what the future will look like. Will it be a dystopian world like The Hunger Games, or a different world, with health care for millions, precision medicine and equitable distribution of benefits? But how do we build the underlying roads?”

Meanwhile, “The landscape is rapidly changing, we don’t know what to regulate, we don’t know how to regulate it, regulation may not be the best tool, we don’t know our end goals and we have no mandate,” she added.

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