Artificial intelligence (AI) has gone from a fringe field of computer science, to the forefront of the tech conversation. As with any developing technology, there are fundamental ethical considerations as the adoption rates increase, and its usage becomes more widespread. Artificial intelligence is and will shape the future and touch on nearly all areas of life, perhaps beyond any technology we’ve seen to date. The influence AI will have requires us to approach it with a vision and care for the impacts it will have, both in a legal and ethical framework.
This is why as a player in the AI industry, and as a team developing configurable, scalable and secure AI solutions we are mindful about devising and implementing processes, at every step in order to minimize bias and honour privacy rights (among other issues). My framework, as Stradigi AI’s legal counsel and as a person passionate about ethics, is impacted by a keen interest in how AI can affect the lives of individuals and society as a whole. The way technology is seamlessly interwoven into our daily lives, has provided many benefits, yet I am also wary of some seemingly unavoidable risks. My role here at Stradigi AI is to understand those risks, connect and mitigate them with the possibilities AI can unlock.
We’ve seen the damage that can be attributed in some way or another to AI, whether Cortana spewing hateful tweets, Amazon’s HR algorithm’s favouring male applicants, or even the flash market crash of 2010.
There are others, including ones we don’t know about due to the complexity of algorithms and the ecosystem. A default setting of AI is providing a certain level of autonomy to “the machines” by using what they’ve learned to reach conclusions. This requires the AI industry as a whole to address these issues preemptively.
So many new issues will develop that may require legal discussions at the highest levels of government (ex: Is the creator of an AI product responsible for its outcomes?). This has been a challenge across many technologies we’ve been seeing develop, especially over the past couple of decades – but that appears to be accelerating as technology development outpaces the ability to build a legal (let alone ethical) framework. Seeing the legal challenges in other tech areas such as the sharing economy, social media or even Google with “the right to be forgotten”, we need to initiate this discussion to ensure AI does contribute to the greater good.
After many discussions from both legal and technical perspectives, we realized there’s a clear need to tackle these issues in our own way without avoiding the challenges associated with the disruptive nature of AI. The role to inject ethics into our AI conversations must be made of primary importance to ensure that this technological revolution delivers development on an equitable scale and for the good of humanity, not only legally, but on a moral echelon.
We will continue to explore these topics in a series of articles on legal and ethical issues around AI to begin unravelling the multitude of layers. We remain committed to developing not only our own Ethical AI, but ensuring that we can share our ideas with the wider AI Community to set best practice policy and standards.