Ethics in Artificial Intelligence
Ethics in Artificial Intelligence (AI) raises the central question of how an intelligent machine should behave, what is it to be human? As in any other technology, the true power of AI lies in our ability to understand and manipulate it.
We can start with ethics in AI because most people can understand this as a negative outcome. How can something that doesn’t think to be ethical? It is always beneficial to be clear on the consequences of our actions before we take them. If we are not careful in our judgments, we may be setting ourselves up for failure.
We have already seen the potential for misuse of AIs in research labs, and all areas of science. However, ethical choices are more complex than that. We need to look at issues of trust and fairness because AI will always be a developing field, and there will be times when we will need to use AI not as a tool to solve a problem, but as a tool to solve an ethical problem.
I have been involved in the field of robotics for over three decades and I see all kinds of such ethical dilemmas. There will come a time when machines are so intelligent that they can learn to solve these ethical dilemmas for themselves.
This means that ethics in AI will be very different than the ethical decisions a person would make. The first and most important factor to look at is: should the system make mistakes? Obviously if a system made no mistakes then it would be a failure. This is a decision to be made only by the user, not by the AI.
Ethics in AI will also consider what kind of input should be available for the system to make its decisions. An example would be humans use of science and religion in their lives. Should we allow the computer to be informed by our judgments about the future? Should we use it to make decisions about the affairs of the family?
Another area to consider would be the role that AI should play in our society. Will AI make decisions about important social issues, or would they make decisions on issues that do not matter to the general public? Ethics in AI will take care of these types of issues because it must be able to work with humans, but it needs to be aware of those things that matter to the general public.
The AI system has to be responsible to the user and make decisions that the user would make in a reasonable situation. For example, if an AI system was asked to make a decision about whether to kill or capture an individual, it would know the difference between innocent and guilty, and that the information was relevant to the user.
However, if the same system was told to assume the worst, without adequate consideration, and not ask the user for input, and if it was then given free reign to make judgments without any limitations, then it would not be a responsible AI. In short, ethics in AI means that it has to be able to balance the value of the user’s decisions and that of the system.
Once the machine understands the value of human interaction and the importance of following the rules and has been fully trained on ethics in AI, then it can make decisions in many different areas. Some of these will be obvious, but others will require closer examination.
For example, one area where humans and machines will find themselves in conflict is on moral dilemmas involving killing. The first and most obvious area is suicide, because humans do it, robots can never do it, thus it is considered immoral. But what about scientific breakthroughs like stem cell research or human cloning?
These are some of the areas where ethics in artificial intelligence will be of utmost importance. The next time you read about any new technology or plan a project involving that technology, think of ethics in artificial intelligence, and use it as an example.
Understanding Ethics in Artificial Intelligence
In the last two decades, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a topic of intense research. The technologies that drive Artificial Intelligence are interrelated and they form an interconnected “system”network” which is inherently complex and impossible to understand in a simplistic manner.
Because of the complexity involved in AI, it is essential that we learn how to best use these technologies to benefit mankind, and that we define ethical ways to use these technologies. Many of these technologies have not yet been deployed, so the answers to some of the questions raised by them, if found, may take some time to be understood.
Ethics is a practice that is both inherent in the human condition and dependent on a person’s choices. Our decisions, thoughts, and actions are influenced by the choices we make and the way in which we live our lives. Ethics are an essential part of human existence.
AI is one of the most important technologies of the last two decades. It will create new forms of employment and a new type of culture. The degree to which these new forms of employment, relationships, and culture will enhance or undermine human values and ethics is an open question. Human values are continually evolving and if the technologies of tomorrow, or in the next generation, contribute to an increasingly uncertain future, ethical questions about artificial intelligence, the human future, and AI will emerge.
- This raises an important question, “Will humans eventually evolve beyond their ability to control the future?” With Artificial Intelligence, we will soon be at the point where the human race can no longer decide what will benefit mankind and what will not, or what new technologies will be beneficial and what technologies will not.
- The moral uncertainty of AI has already been raised. In addition, AI poses a threat to individuals because it cannot be controlled. With AI, there will be no way to guarantee that a group of people will act altruistically, as long as AIs are being created. Even the ethical dilemmas that arise with the new technologies are situational and unforeseeable by any single individual.
- While a discussion of ethics in AI is incomplete without considering the ethical issues surrounding robotics, many of the ethical issues related to robotics will not be addressed. Ethics in Robotics, and specifically the issue of sentient robotics, has not been addressed. Moreover, ethical issues will be presented by robotics, but it is necessary to state that ethical issues with robotics have not been fully studied and they will likely have a large impact on the future of robotics.
- Because of the nature of AI, ethical concerns are one of the biggest areas of ethical debate between different groups of people who are working on AI technologies. What constitutes an ethical AI?
- There are three main methods of developing ethical AI: theoretical, practical, and conceptual. These methods will be discussed in greater detail below. It is also important to state that these methods have their own limitations and ethical AI technologies developed using them may also be unethical.
- Theoretical, ethical AI is defined as the development of ethical values and norms for AI systems by people using modern reasoning and ethical principles from society. This method is incomplete because it does not address ethics of autonomous systems.
- Practical ethics is more often than not based on a toolbox of morality that is known to work in actual life situations, such as traditional morality. Because it is a toolkit that can be adapted and changed, it is also based on the same moral principles, such as compassion and respect.
- Conceptual ethics is an amalgamation of ethical principles in the form of meta-ethics. It is the ethical toolkit of AI scientists and philosophers that gives principles that can be used in multiple contexts. Because it is not an effective toolkit for applying ethics to AI systems, it is considered less ethical than theoretical ethics and practical ethics.