Fri, Dec 14, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Machines can’t be left without ethics

By James Cooper and Jason Hsu 許毓仁

In this coming era of AI, algorithmic decisionmaking will drive causes and consequences. Technology must be held accountable; those who build technology must bear in mind potential harms and take preventive measures.

We are creating a council on AI, ethics and law to bring together technologists, philosophers, legal practitioners, engineers and policymakers to develop solutions and address some of these concerns.

With such a focus on algorithmic justice, data protection and cybersecurity concerns can be met, with privacy paramount.

There is also the issue of how data sets are utilized for prediction or decisionmaking. AI must be used to undo reigning prejudices and reverse social inequities, not reinforce them. Governments and corporations must abide by strict principles — whether legislated or through self-regulating organizations — in the use of AI technology.

AI and machine learning bring with them many opportunities to benefit humanity, but also pose significant risks. As “AI for social good” gathers pace, it is time to consider people above profit.

Companies could do well by doing good. A dystopian future could be averted. The machines they build and the software they code cannot promote ethics by themselves, so humans must develop rules for such advances.

James Cooper is a professor of law at California Western School of Law in San Diego. Jason Hsu is a futurist and a legislator.

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