Learning Right from Wrong: The Ethical Troubles of Artificial Intelligence Technologies

Ideally, artificial intelligence can operate like we do, with intelligence and forethought. However, since we are the creators ushering artificial intelligence into the present and future, we invariably give AI programs some of our own biases and ethical problems. Here we will discuss the foremost of these ethical problems and provide solutions in cases where artificial intelligence crosses an ethical line.

Problems with Politics: AI Can Be a Double-Edged Sword

What one side of the political spectrum sees as innocent or harmless, the other side may see as a near-declaration of war. This means that ethics surrounding AI applications become muddy quickly, and it is up to us to appoint experts who can clearly delineate every side of an ethical dilemma in order to safeguard artificial intelligence firms from breaching ethical contracts and guidelines.

Even Intelligent Weapons May Do Harm

Many AI proponents believe that this technology should be used to advance our military and weapons capabilities to superhuman levels, and this is a big ethical problem. Luckily, many companies have already sworn off involvement with military agencies, but there are still researchers and businesses that sell their technology to the military and the government for defensive and offensive purposes. Clear guidelines and safeguards must be in place so artificially intelligent weapons systems are not used unless absolutely necessary.

Intelligent Law Enforcement May Still Use Force

Artificial intelligence has been used to ramp up the search capabilities of many law enforcement officers and allows for more sophisticated tracking of suspects and criminals. However, our history of racial bias and minority mistreatment means that the same biases may be woven into artificial intelligence frameworks inadvertently. Special care must be taken to ensure that AI technology is not used to perpetuate stereotypes, biases, and wrongful accusations.

The Watchmen Are Not Always Looking Out for You

Surveillance capabilities have improved exponentially thanks to enhanced facial recognition and tracking software, but this, too, is a double-edged sword. While the technology may be used to keep an eye on suspicious people and wrongdoers, it may also be used to keep tabs on innocent civilians. The authoritarian bent must be watched at all times, lest it be used to deprive us of our human rights.

Racial Bias and Privilege May Continue Through AI

The tracking abilities of artificial intelligence systems are not just for keeping tabs on dangerous individuals. They may also be used to profile people wrongfully and keep track of individuals deemed to be “less than” by the authorities. If you do something the government doesn’t like or vote the “wrong” way, for example, AI may be used to lower your credit score or stop you from getting a job you applied for.

Clearly, there are many ways that AI may be abused by those in power. This is why every institution must have a team of ethics advisers, and a code of ethics for AI must be written and followed. AI activity should be tracked and monitored in case of misconduct, and every individual should be trained in the ethical application of AI systems. Finally, in case AI does something wrong, remediation for wrongdoing must be made by law.

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Joshua Crawford | Managing Director | PROPRIUS

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