The answer is messy and harder than people think.
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Ethics may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of your online content. It’s worth focusing on considering AI helps us make more and more decisions everyday. They give us personalized recommendations, tell us where to go, and help us make or break habits.
Machines are entering a new age where they require making complex, ethical decision such as with self-driving cars. Logic doesn’t always solve the answer. Should machines learn how to think and behave like a human to co-exist with civilization?
What Are Ethics?
Ethics are a system of principles and values that help guide our behavior and make decisions.
While it may seem obvious, this is a good first place to start if we are to create a set of ethics for machine-humanoid beings.
Life isn’t neat and tidy like we would it to be. Many times, we’re squeezed between a rock and a hard place. Ethics cover dilemmas such as:
- how to live a good life
- rights and responsibilities
- the language of right and wrong
- moral decisions – what is good and bad?
Who Decides What’s Right Or Wrong?
What we value and why varies across cultures. The classic thought experiment, the Trolley problem, asks a question that’s between a rock and a hard place.
MIT summed up the thought experiment in their article titled, “Should a self-driving car kill the baby or the grandma? Depends on where you’re from.”
In 2014, MIT researchers developed an experiment called “The Moral Machine.” The Moral Machine recorded 40 million decisions from millions of people in 233 countries. Participants answered how they would solve the Trolley problem.
Individualistic cultures (France scored the highest) are more likely to spare the baby. Collective cultures (Taiwan with the highest score) are more likely to emphasize sparing the elderly.
What Goes Into Creating Ethics For AI?
So what’s a confused AI robot to do? We may see artificial intelligences that are developed in different countries carry separate sets of ethics.
From just one thought experiment, we can see creating a standardized set of ethics for AI will be easier said than done. A top question is “Who decides those ethics and who will enforce them?”
Philip Alston, international legal scholar at NYU’s School of Law, is one of the many who propose basing AI ethics on basic human rights.
Everyone has a right to privacy, freedom of speech, and freedom of thought for example. Any AI that crosses basic human rights boundaries is due for a reprogramming.
Ethics help us live our best lives. With AI following the same system of ethics, they can be our biggest supporters in becoming our best selves. The ball is still in the air how ethically thinking AI will incorporate into society, but that’s the fun of looking forward to the future.
This article is part of our “Value My Content” series where we write an article for each letter of the phrase. “Value My Content showcases the value individuals can receive from their content.
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