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Challenges and opportunities for the future

AI – ethics inside?

Challenges and opportunities for the future

Teaching machines human values

In a world where limitless connectivity improves lives, redefines business and pioneers a sustainable future, trusting technology will be key. But what does it mean to fully trust a technology? Artificial intelligence (AI) is already becoming commonplace in our lives, and data scientists predict that its successful introduction will benefit current and future generations both in terms of economic growth and overall societal wellbeing. The first in a series of reports, this edition aims to introduce the ethics of AI and explore how this fast-growing technology needs to align with humans’ moral and ethical principles if it is to be embraced by society at large.

The good, the bad and the unintended

Using qualitative data from a range of experts and considering well-established philosophical examples, the paper focuses on the unintended consequences of AI usage and how human error or oversight could cause severe and lasting damage, despite the many opportunities it creates.

It also explores other quandaries such as the inherent biases within AI systems, how the successful implementation of AI relies on building consumer trust, and how legislation used to regulate AI needs to be tailored to each individual industry. Upcoming editions will then dig deeper into the various opportunities and challenges that AI brings to different sectors.

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Key findings

Lack of focus on unintended consequences of AI usage

01. Lack of focus on unintended consequences of AI usage

Much of the AI research being conducted today focuses on ways to mitigate intended misuse of the technology. However, the experts interviewed generally agreed that the unintended consequences of normal deployment could be equally damaging and therefore need more attention.

The impossible challenge with bias in AI

02. The impossible challenge with bias in AI

Left unchecked, biased data could risk furthering gender inequalities or fueling continued racial injustice. Indeed, several of the experts agree that striving for unbiased AI is virtually impossible, though they added that these effects could be minimized.

The paradox of trust

03. The paradox of trust

AI is often used to support human decision making so it is important to build up trust in these systems, but without fostering an overreliance on the technology.

AI ethics is important for everyone

04. AI ethics is important for everyone

AI ethics is not just important for data scientists – it’s crucial for everyone. AI will soon permeate many facets of people’s work and personal lives.

Today’s AI guidelines are not enough

05. Today’s AI guidelines are not enough

To better support AI development for business, industry and society, today’s guidelines, rules and regulations need to be improved to cover more than just consumer-focused variables.

Ethics by design is key for acceptance

06. “Ethics by design” is key for acceptance

While technology itself can never be ethical, it can be ethically aligned. An ethical dimension should run parallel to areas like security and privacy within the design process – addressing these problems early will save time and money in the long run.

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