Technological evolutions, notably Artificial Intelligence, has made strides in improving everyday life, along with it, it also brought severe ethical concerns.
In this blog, I will cover ethics related to Artificial Intelligence in two broad aspects,
- Ethics for AI-Based Decision Making
How and what decisions need to be made using artificial intelligence
- Ethics for AI-Usage
Where and how to use artificial intelligence
In simple terms, Artificial Intelligence is defined as a technical solution that mimics the cognitive ability of human decision making. Most often than not, the adoption of artificial intelligence solutions is prevented by ethical challenges rather than technical challenges. Ethical concerns need to be addressed by the government, private organizations, and the general public alike to enable successful adoption and take full advantage of the AI solution.
Let’s explore the specific examples in each of the two categories.
Ethics for AI-Based Decision Making
Artificial intelligence decisions are derived based on the right design of the algorithm and the right set of test datasets. If there was bias in system design or the test dataset, the same would continue for the AI decisions. In addition to ensuring the right design and the test data set, making the AI logic explainable, it mitigates any risks that might arise with the bias concerns.
- Decision making Dilemma:
Not all decisions are simple or straight forward. Decisions that seem to be ethical to one person might not appear ethical to another person. A classic example is a self-driving car that needs to decide to put the owner in danger to save a pedestrian. How does that decision change if it encountered another car or a school bus instead of a pedestrian? Would the buyer be onboard with those decisions?
If there are any issues with the decisions that are made by AI, who will take responsibility for the situation, is it the AI manufacturers, the policymakers, or the AI user? There is a need to provide more clarity on who is accountable for specific situations.
Ethics for AI-Usage
- Fake Information:
A recent survey suggests that by 2022, people will be encountering more fake news than actual information. How is this related to AI? Well, that is the ‘enabler’. AI-based systems let you create realistic fake conversations, videos, images, and whatnot. Not only is this direct breach of human privacy and security but it has led to huge propagandas. AI bots also allow parties to create automated social media accounts that spread misinformation and manipulate viewers.
- Malicious Users:
AI is extremely beneficial, but we have to be mindful of evil users as well. “The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation” report by AI experts emphasizes that existing threats to enterprises have increased due to a decrease in the cost of attacks that are now automated.
- Privacy Breach:
Google maps know entire route plans and can even view the roof of your own house directly. Alexa knows your entire schedule. Every single application you use is customized in detail according to your personal preferences. Have you ever noticed once you search for a coffee brand, it immediately starts appearing on your social media account feeds? Why? Because our 3rd party cookies are being tracked and that is where the breach of privacy arises. The Cambridge Analytica case catered to this exact concern!
AI-enabled systems are accurate and efficient, so they are driving efficiency across many industries. AI is just being a job category killer, not a job killer, but this is an ethical concern. AI is accelerating digital transformation which is taking away jobs. In fact, according to recent research by BBC, automation can replace about 1.5 million jobs in the year 2020.
When AI offers logistics optimization, fraud detection, research, and much more via intelligent machines, it brings forth above ethical concerns. It becomes the responsibility of the government, private agencies, and the general public to define, enforce, and adopt policies to build a secure future for our generations.
Sreevani Konda, Data & Analytics Leader