AI ethics

10 recommendations for the ethical use of AI

In February the New York Times hosted the New Work Summit, a conference that explored the opportunities and risks associated with the emergence of artificial intelligence across all aspects of society. Attendees worked in groups to compile a list of recommendations for building and deploying ethical artificial intelligence, the results of which are listed below.

  1. Transparency: Companies should be transparent about the design, intention and use of their A.I. technology.
  2. Disclosure: Companies should clearly disclose to users what data is being collected and how it is being used.
  3. Privacy: Users should be able to easily opt out of data collection.
  4. Diversity: A.I. technology should be developed by inherently diverse teams.
  5. Bias: Companies should strive to avoid bias in A.I. by drawing on diverse data sets.
  6. Trust: Organizations should have internal processes to self-regulate the misuse of A.I. Have a chief ethics officer, ethics board, etc.
  7. Accountability: There should be a common set of standards by which companies are held accountable for the use and impact of their A.I. technology.
  8. Collective governance: Companies should work together to self-regulate the industry.
  9. Regulation: Companies should work with regulators to develop appropriate laws to govern the use of A.I.
  10. “Complementarity”: Treat A.I. as tool for humans to use, not a replacement for human work.

The list of recommendations seems reasonable enough on the surface, although I wonder how practical they are given the business models of the companies most active in developing AI-based systems. As long as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc. are generating the bulk of their revenue from advertising that’s powered by the data we give them, they have little incentive to be transparent, to disclose, to be regulated, etc. If we opt our data out of the AI training pool, the AI is more susceptible to bias and less useful/accurate, so having more data is usually better for algorithm development. And having internal processes to build trust? That seems odd.

However, even though it’s easy to find issues with all of these recommendations it doesn’t mean that they’re not useful. The more of these kinds of conversations we have, the more likely it is that we’ll figure out a way to have AI that positively influences society.


Posted to Diigo 01/09/2012

    • Compared with the stereotype of the East Asian model — long hours of   exhaustive cramming and rote memorization — Finland’s success is especially  intriguing because Finnish schools assign less homework and engage children  in more creative play
    • Americans are consistently obsessed with certain questions: How can you keep track of students’ performance if you don’t test them  constantly? How can you improve teaching if you have no accountability for  bad teachers or merit pay for good teachers? How do you foster competition  and engage the private sector? How do you provide school choice
    • The answers Finland provides seem to run counter to just about everything  America’s school reformers are trying to do
    • For starters, Finland has no standardized tests. The only exception is  what’s called the National Matriculation Exam, which everyone takes at the   end of a voluntary upper-secondary school, roughly the equivalent of  American high school
    • Instead, the public school system’s teachers are trained to assess children   in classrooms using independent tests they create themselves.
    • Periodically, the Ministry   of Education tracks national progress by testing a few sample groups across   a range of different schools.
    • “There’s no word for accountability in Finnish,” he later told an audience  at the Teachers College of Columbia University. “Accountability is something   that is left when responsibility has been subtracted.
    • what   matters is that in Finland all teachers and administrators are given   prestige, decent pay, and a lot of responsibility
    • And while Americans love to talk about competition, Sahlberg points out that   nothing makes Finns more uncomfortable
    • “Real winners do not compete.”
    • Decades ago, when the Finnish school system was badly in need of reform, the  goal of the program that Finland instituted, resulting in so much success   today, was never excellence. It was equity.
    • Education   has been seen first and foremost not as a way to produce star performers,   but as an instrument to even out social inequality.
    • this means that schools   should be healthy, safe environments for children. This starts with the   basics. Finland offers all pupils free school meals, easy access to health   care, psychological counseling, and individualized student guidance
    • Finland’s dream was that we want to have a good public education for every child regardless of where they go to school or what kind of families they come from
    • Finland’s experience shows that it is possible to achieve excellence by focusing not on competition, but on cooperation, and not on choice, but on equity.