Ethical AI Design May Be Broadly Adopted Within Next Decade, Experts Express Concern


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now being adopted for automation in various sectors — from diagnosing medical conditions to regulating traffic and help drive vehicles. It is also used for running chatbots for customers to spotting signs of fraud in financial transactions. This new technology is also being adopted to read people’s emotions and to “speak” to them as voice assistants. A majority of experts, however, are not sure whether AI should be so widely adopted without proper and adequate safeguards. They have expressed their concerns while talking to Pew Research.

The concerns most experts raised were how advances in AI will affect humans, their free will, and what it would mean to be productive in that age. Another worry was that the evolution of AI by 2030 may continue to be focussed on optimising profits and social control, with stakeholders struggling to reach a consensus on ethics.

However, they had some hope of finding ways to address these issues as there’s a global focus on ethical AI and this is moving society towards an agreement to make AI development beneficial, autonomous and just.

These facts were highlighted in a new report released by the Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imaging the Internet Center. The research surveyed 602 technology innovators, business and policy leaders, researchers, and activists.

According to the report, 68 percent of the respondents chose the option declaring that ethical principles focussed primarily on public goodwill not be employed in most AI systems by 2030. Only 32 percent of the respondents believed most AI systems will focus on public good by 2030.

Those who responded to the queries include Barry Chudakov, founder and principal of Sertain Research, Mike Godwin, former general counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation and creator of Godwin’s Law, and Jamais Cascio, research fellow at the Institute for the Future.

One of the respondents said, “Rabelais used to say, ‘Science without conscience is the ruin of the soul.’”

The research centre noted that the results represent only the opinions of the individuals who responded to the queries and not projectable to any other population.

The bulk of the research report covers those experts whose written answers have explained their responses.

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