You’ve heard about students using ChatGPT to cheat on exams and yeah, it’s not the ideal use of this super cool tool. But the moral dilemmas that arise with the use of artificial intelligence tools are becoming more and more widespread–and can have drastic effects. As artificial intelligence tools become increasingly common and developed, the moral implications of artificial intelligence are also gaining importance.
Ethical concerns when it comes to artificial intelligence are completely valid; lots of aspects of human life are subjective and it can be nearly impossible to create a machine that can take all parts of human life into account. Here are some of the main ethical concerns when it comes to AI:
Bias: an AI tool that’s trained with bias can have disastrous effects, eliminating entire groups from a hiring process.
Privacy: can we trust machines with private and confidential information? AI tools need to be secure and foster a sense of security.
Values: one person’s moral leanings differ greatly from the next; how can we train AI tools to take values into account if they are so different?
Humans: part of human life is making mistakes–is making a superior and flawless decision-making process better? Or does it place machines above humans?
However, we all know how incredible artificial intelligence is and how it can help transform our world for the better. Here are some great examples of how artificial intelligence is used positively:
Limited human involvement: computer or robotic precision is simply superior to that of humans and whether we’re using robots to dive deep into the sea or process large amounts of data, humans are better off without these responsibilities.
Increased productivity: computers don’t need to sleep, take a shower, or even eat–human productivity, on the other hand, is limited and can depend heavily on outside factors such as background noise, how they’re feeling, and stress levels. Allowing computers to run 24/7 to collect and analyze client data, for example, allows a company to collect much more information than previously possible.
Better collaboration: doctors can benefit from better and more centralized patient information centers where they can see diagnosis information from other providers and see similar cases to give the best possible treatment options to their patients.
Less bias: even when they do their best to avoid it, humans bring their own biases and experiences to the table; machines don’t have biases (and artificial intelligence tools are advancing to ensure they don’t include the biases of their programmers) and can help make some processes, like job selection, fairer and more inclusive.
We could go on and on because artificial intelligence is truly transforming our lives and the way in which we’re using it daily will continue to disrupt our understanding of technology. But as with anything, there are various concerns to keep in mind when it comes to artificial intelligence:
A lack of ethics: morality and being guided by ethics is an inherent part of humanity and our decision-making process; as of today, attempts to truly mimic a human’s decision making process, down to their emotions and morals, have not been successful.
High costs: it seems like everyone and their mother is using AI tools, right? Even though the fun and trendy tools like ChatGPT are widespread and available to all, the more intense and developed artificial intelligence tools are extremely expensive to build and maintain, meaning it’s out of reach for many companies.
A reliance on machines: it’s easy to rely on a machine that can do your job faster and more efficiently, but what if the server goes down? Or you can’t create the exact prompt you need to get your job down? As humans learn to rely more and more on machines, they can forget their own responsibilities and capabilities.
The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence
To ensure that the pros of artificial intelligence tools are not overshadowed by the ethical concerns of artificial intelligence, such as privacy worries or making decisions that should be made by humans, a certain set of guidelines have been created to help ensure artificial intelligence development stays on the right track. All artificial intelligence tools should be:
Transparent: the way that machines arrive at conclusions should be understandable and make sense to humans, in addition to being as close as possible to the human decision-making process.
Fair: any potential biases must be eliminated during the development process, making sure that all users of the machine will be treated equally and fairly.
Accountable: the person or people responsible for the creation and management of the artificial intelligence tool must be clear so that there are steps in place in case something goes wrong.
Private: all machines must respect and take into account both local and international privacy regulations, ensuring that user data remains both private and secure.
Beneficial: the goal of all artificial intelligence tools should be to better and improve human life, ensuring that humans benefit from the tool’s existence and it doesn’t cause more harm than good.
Robust: in line with the previous point, tools must be well-designed and free of errors or mistakes to ensure it’s effective and can do what it’s intended to do.
To ensure that future artificial intelligence tools follow these guidelines and work to contribute to an overall better and more ethical tech sector, it’s going to take a new generation of AI professionals who are focused and dedicated to the cause.
After all, change begins with us. At Ironhack, we’re up for the challenge: are you? We’d love to see you in class and begin to take on the ethical challenges of artificial intelligence with you. Ready? We’ll see you in the classroom!