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The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

author by Bernard Cosgrave time Feb 08, 2021

“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race….It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded.”— Stephen Hawking told the BBC.

The two big topics in machine learning/AI at the moment are ethics and explainable AI. They are about how we should use and limit the use of AI and how AI should not be an understandable machine, which simply says yes or no. These areas are relevant to insurance and need to be thought through carefully because not all of the benefits associated with AI are necessarily positive.

Of course, the potential opportunities are great but the negatives could include AI Bias, loss of certain jobs, a shift in human experience as machines take on more responsibilities, global regulations wars as different regimes adopt different approaches to ensure consent and transparency, Accelerated Hacking and AI Terrorism.

Some analysts believe that the recent U.S. Capitol riots are the culmination of years of bad actors being allowed to distribute propaganda and misinformation through media such as Facebook and twitter, which machine-learning tech helps companies target people with online ads.

A.I. can clarify but it can also obscure when employed to sow disinformation, or reap the rewards of other areas including privacy and facial recognition, which can drive profitability but at the expense of personal or public liberty.

“I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. I mean with artificial intelligence we’re summoning the demon.” —Elon Musk warned at MIT’s Aero Astro Centennial Symposium.

Such concerns are causing companies to question the use of this technology. According to some experts, businesses are so concerned about ethics related to A.I. that they are killing projects involving A.I. or never starting them to begin with.

That is a shame because A.I. promises enormous potential rewards to businesses that are able to harness and control the technology in an ethical and, dare I say, smart way. A.I. and machine learning have the potential to create an additional $2.6T in value by 2020 in Marketing and Sales, and up to $2T in manufacturing and supply chain planning, says Forbes magazine. While Gartner predicts the business value created by AI will reach $3.9T in 2022.

No one questions the value add of the technology but when trillion dollar numbers are involved, it is probably sensible to question the ethics involved within a business before the legal authorities or regulators do it for you.

“We must address, individually and collectively, moral and ethical issues raised by cutting-edge research in artificial intelligence and biotechnology, which will enable significant life extension, designer babies, and memory extraction." —Klaus Schwab.

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