Preliminary Thoughts on AI – Ethics

Intelligent System and AI have been in vogue as far as I can remember. Growing up an avid reader of science of fiction, I read Isaac Asimov’s- I Robot with a high degree of interest. Asimov’s three laws of Robotics are quite well known in both science fiction and philosophical circles.

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Although recently with the advent of advance technology and the high amount of dollar spending on AI, we have made progress into integrating AI into our everyday lives.

According to a report by IDC (2017) – Worldwide Spending on Cognitive and Artificial Intelligence Systems Forecast to Reach $12.5 Billion This Year, According to New IDC Spending Guide

Industrial-R&D-American Manufacturing-Eleanor. Trends 2016-2017.

A brief overview of Research Expenditure is also outlined in the above mentioned blog post.

Thus, the Laws of Robotics although still quite important require and update.

A recent article from 2017 outlines the reason why the Laws of Robotics need to be updated:

After 75 years, Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics need updating

Dr. Peter W. Singer a well known expert on defense issues has written on the subject of AI and Asimov’s Laws of robotics. His views on the Law’s of Robotics are outlined in the following article from 2009.

Asimov’s Laws of Robotics are a Total BS

A recent article published by MIRI ( Machine Intelligence Research Institute) in the Cambridge Handbook of Artificial Intelligence, discusses four viewpoint towards AI Ethics.

Ethics of AI (MIRI – Cambridge).

1.The first section of the article explores the issues that may arise in the future of AI.

2.The second section focuses on the challenges for ensuring that AI operates safely as it approaches humans in its intelligence.

3.The third section focuses on assessing the moral status of AI.

4.The fourth section explores how AI may differ from humans in their ethical assessment.

The subject of AI – remains an interesting albeit a controversial topic. Not only have AI been integrated into our every day lives to improve our productivity. AI is also the used significantly in warfare. This gives rise to problems such as technological arms race. Further problems that arise are how intelligent systems may replace humans leading to unemployment and the retraining of the workforce and even perhaps a point of ‘singularity’ which is when AI becomes more intelligent then humans.

The challenge here is then to focus the research and the vast amount of funding towards a societal benefit.

(More thoughts on the subject matter forthcoming)



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