With the spread of artificial intelligence, and governments trying to catch up with the structure and law of fast-growing technology, the ethics of artificial intelligence has emerged as a critical topic that everyone should be aware of. So, what is the ethics of artificial intelligence and why is it important?
What are the ethics of artificial intelligence?
Definitions vary, but in general, AI ethics is the term given to a wide range of considerations for responsible AI that combines safety, security, human concerns, and environmental considerations. Some areas of AI ethics include:
- Avoid bias towards artificial intelligence. As AI learns from data, poorly constructed AI can (and does) exhibit bias against poorly represented subsets of data. In particular, poorly trained AI systems can display a bias against minorities and underrepresented groups. Famous cases of bias, such as recruitment tools and chatbots, have embarrassed companies’ famous brands and created legal risks.
- Artificial Intelligence and Privacy. Artificial intelligence relies on information to learn from. Much of this information comes from users. Not all users are aware of what information is collected about them and how it is used to make decisions that affect them. Even today, everything from online searches to online purchases to social media comments can be used to track, select, and personalize experiences for users. While this can be positive (such as the AI recommending a product that a user might like), it can also lead to an unexpected bias (such as making some offers to some consumers but not others).
- Avoid AI errors. Poorly built AI systems can make mistakes that can lead to anything from lost revenue to death. Adequate testing is required to ensure that AI systems do not pose a threat to humans or their environments.
- Managing the environmental impact of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence models are increasing day by day, with the size of modern models reaching more than a trillion parameters each. These large models consume a lot of energy to train – making AI a huge resource consuming. Researchers are developing technologies for energy-efficient AI systems that balance performance and energy efficiency.
why does it matter?
Experience with AI has proven that following good AI ethics is not just a responsible behaviour, it is required to get good business value from AI. Ethical issues can pose business risks such as product failure, legal issues, brand damage and more.
Countries, and even cities and counties, are taking their own approaches to AI ethics. This means that, as a business, one needs to be aware of AI regulations at the state level and even the city level. Two examples of notable AI-related regulations are the “right to interpret” clause in the EU General Data Protection Regulations and relevant parts of the California Consumer Privacy Act. At the local level, cities in the United States make decisions about the use of algorithms, particularly those used in law enforcement. The upcoming EU AI law is one of the biggest legislative efforts in the field of AI.
As individuals from all walks of life begin to see AI in their lives and careers, AI ethics becomes an important part of AI literacy for most people. AI ethics is now taught in high and middle schools as well as in responsible AI practices in professional business courses. As laws such as the AI Law become more prevalent, one can expect knowledge of AI ethics to become mainstream.
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