“We must address individually and collectively, moral and ethical issues raised by cutting-edge research in Artificial Intelligence and Biotechnology, which will enable significant life extension, designer babies, and memory extraction.”
- Klaus Schwab
Today, we are all surrounded by AI so extensively that we don’t even realize its presence around us. Your smartphone is the biggest example of AI, that you use all through the day. It is AI that enables you to shoot a video in portrait mode or switch it to landscape mode.
It is AI that enables you to ask Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant to make a call, text for you, and dim the lights for you. Now, when you book a gas refill or even your movie tickets, it feels like you are chatting to some agent. Is it so? No, it’s actually a chatbot interacting with you, and the credit goes to Artificial Intelligence.
There are numerous examples of AI that we come across in our daily life, as in recommendation engines on Facebook and shopping portals, music and movie recommendations on Netflix, etc. With such fascinating applications, there is increased interest among professionals to learn AI. In fact, a lot of training providers have started offering AI courses to help them step into this field.
While we are enjoying the amenities provided to us by Artificial Intelligence, there are some special considerations for which AI has been put into scrutiny by the public and scientists.
While AI is thought of as killing jobs across the globe, it should be understood that it is killing a category of jobs, along with producing a new category of jobs that require skilled and trained professionals in Artificial Intelligence.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence is a term that refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think and act like humans, generally mimicking human behavior. When a machine exhibits some traits related to human behavior it is termed artificially intelligent.
The absolute characteristic of AI is the ability of a machine to rationalize and take such decisions that result in achieving the specified goal. The goals of artificial intelligence include reasoning, learning, and perception.
Today, AI is being used in almost every sector like gaming, healthcare, finance, retail, social media, entertainment, travel and navigation, smart home devices, security and surveillance, and more. AI is continuously evolving to profit different industries, there are some issues that are to be considered, and hence AI systems should be developed keeping in mind the ethics of Artificial Intelligence.
Let us explore some important ethics of Artificial Intelligence.
Ethics in Artificial Intelligence
There are some questions that come into people’s minds around the world.
- Are AI systems really secure?
- Will self-driving cars drive us around?
- Will AI robots do our laundry?
- Will AI systems raise our kids?
And the most important one,
- Will AI replace human workers and kill the jobs?
These are some questions that make people doubt AI systems. So, keeping aside the functional capabilities of AI systems, it makes sense to consider the ethics behind building such robust and potentially life-consequential systems.
- Will Artificial Intelligence replace human workers?
Since AI-enabled systems have replaced human labor across a wide range of industries, this has made an immediate concern for many that AI is killing jobs. But, like every wave of technology has swept a category of jobs, AI is also responsible for eliminating a category of jobs, thereby producing a new category. So employment is not destroyed, but it is shifted from one category to another. Now, companies are looking for trained and skilled AI professionals in order to adapt and implement AI techniques in their organizations.
- Liability for self-driving cars
Since their development, self-driving cars have been controversial as their machines are so designed that they invoke the lowest risk and least casualties. They are simulated and provided with a scenario of an accident; they choose an option that causes the least damage.
Currently, self-driving cars need a driver to oversee the actions, being semi-autonomous. Hence these cars, while being convenient, are not an appropriate substitute.
- Biases in AI systems
AI is widely used today in facial and voice recognition systems. But it is found that there are biases in the algorithm developed for performing the recognition. It recognized more efficiently the male candidates than females.
Amazon discontinued the use of AI hiring and recruitment systems because it preferred male candidates to female ones.
There are many ways in which bias can creep into the systems, as existing bias, technical bias, and emergent bias.
- Transparency, accountability, and open-source
In an era that is AI-enabled, it is assumed that everyone and everything will know about everyone else. This clearly implies that everyone else knows what you are, what you want, and what you are doing. Maintaining transparency in the AI-enables system is crucial.
To develop open-source AI beneficial to humans, a non-profit company is established by Elon Musk and Sam Altman. But, creating open-source code doesn’t make it comprehensive, thus making code non-transparent.
It is an ethical obligation of companies to regulate transparency, and through it, human accountability.
- A threat to human dignity
There are some positions that should not be replaced by AI systems, as in,
A nurse for elderly citizens,
A police officer,
A customer service representative,
A sales representative, and more.
This is because we expect authentic feelings of empathy from professionals in these positions.
AI systems cannot simulate empathy and thus pose a threat to human dignity. It is also an ethic to be considered to maintain the dignity of mankind.
- The weaponization of Artificial Intelligence
The increase in the weaponization of artificial intelligence appears to be a destabilizing development. It has brought about complex security challenges for the nations as well as the decision-makers for the future of humanity. Today, the weaponization of AI is causing great fear because a weapon system activated across CGS(cyberspace, geospace, and space) can engage in human and non-human targets without being guided by human operators. It is revolutionizing warfare. So it is crucial to visualize how the algorithmic war of the future looks like.
The other ethics to be considered while developing AI-enabled systems are machine ethics, singularity, robot ethics, and more.
While manufacturers can easily replace human labor, and industries can automate certain jobs, there are ethics that are to be followed while developing AI systems. So, there will always be a need for a category of professionals who can master the concepts and provide transparency, privacy, security, and still effective systems that serve humanity.