The Importance of Ethics

Artificial intelligence is an extremely powerful technology that’s not going anywhere, in fact the only way for artificial intelligence is up into unimaginable territory, hopefully that territory is filled with rainbows and unicorns metaphorically speaking but the only way we can even step into the territory is for us to find a way to regulate and use artificial Intelligence ethically if not it can cause a lot of harm.

We are already seeing the ethical struggle of artificial intelligence for example with racial biases that can tiptoe into algorithms. The technology operating self-driving cars can more simply recognise white pedestrians than coloured pedestrian, which makes them a higher risk for being hit. Another example of this is discrimination can be slipped into investment algorithms, making it more difficult for people of colour to obtain loans which is completely obscured and with the movement of Black Lives Matter we can only hope and pray that no further “biases” creep into algorithms.

AI may have unimaginable potential, but the fast-paced nature of the technology needs to be employed carefully and thoughtfully, at least we can rely on universities to explain to the next generation of computer scientists to care and value the ethics of artificial intelligence. Or so we thought but apparently not, according to a new survey of 2,360 data science students, academics, and professionals by software firm Anaconda the conclusion states that only 15% of professors said they’re teaching AI ethics, and just 18% of students specified they’re learning about the subject. These are surprisingly low statistics however its not that the students don’t care or are not interested in the subject t however when asked they states that

“biggest problem to tackle in the AI/ML arena today.”

But those worries evidently aren’t replicated in their curriculum.

Phaedra Boinodiris a member at IBM Academy of Technology and a Fellow of the RSA took a deeper look into the ethical side of AI after she came to know that the analytics firm has misused the data and misused AI, since then she has been trying to bring awareness to the importance of the ethics of artificial intelligence especially biases in algorithms. Boinodiris suggested many fascinating stages that organisations and others can take to mitigate bias and address the concerns. The steps included:

Picture of Phaedra Boinodiris      Credit:

Picture of Phaedra Boinodiris Credit:

  1. Internalising AI ethics: Diversity is important to deal with AI bias.

  2. Introducing forensic technology: Every new set of data should undergo forensic analysis to make sure that they are not biased.

  3.    Establish diverse internal AI ethics board to provide governance, oversight and recommendations.

  4. Ensure CEOs and C-level team are fully aware of and engaged in AI ethics issues.

  5. Access AI impact on skills and workforce.

  6.   Embed ethical governance and training in all AI initiatives.

  7.    Ensuring AI ethics is incorporated in mechanisms for institutionalising values.

    Whereas, outside of organisations some of the steps that can be taken are:

  8. Educating students from the ground up about ethics in AI.

  9. Setting guidelines and standards for AI in ethics.

  10. Creating a unified approach and addressing the needs of affected citizens.

  11. Forging a sustainable future to make AI more trustworthy and more trusted.

These steps could prove to be effective but its up to organisations to implement steps to be more ethically aware but without government regulations its highly unlikely organisations will take that step to change.



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