Technology exists to advance and improve, but even the most cutting-edge developments in technology require us to ask questions that have been with us forever. Questions of ethics are never settled, and as the advancement and implementation of artificial intelligence become more and more rapid, these questions are as important as ever. C2C recently brought these questions to a discussion with Tobi Wole, a Berlin-based data analytics engineer who gave a presentation mapping principles essential to AI Ethics against the 10 Commandments.
Below is a recording of the full discussion:
And here’s Tobi’s presentation, “10 Commandments and AI Ethics”
Rules to Live By
Wole found some striking points of contact between the 10 Commandments––a foundational text of the ethics we live by today––and core ethical principles of AI. Commandment 5, “Honor your father and mother,” speaks to the need for human authority over AI technologies; for example, the University of Bologna’s “ethical knob,” which allows a human driver to take control of a self-driving car if necessary:
Commandment Seven, “You shall not commit adultery,” offers a funny segue into some concerns related to privacy, particularly security and access control:
Most relevant of all is Commandment nine, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour [sic.],” which translates directly to present considerations regarding authenticity and honesty in digital technology. Watch the clip below for Wole’s commentary and a look at the ultimate false witness: an AI deepfake of Barack Obama:
Honoring Diversity of Thought and Opinion
Wole’s presentation offered numerous examples of other ethical principles crucial to proper AI development during an open discussion with C2C team members and colleagues. When C2C’s Sabina Bhasin raised the question of “diversity of thought and opinion,” Jeff Branham brought up some issues he’s faced in his work with machine learning models. AIs collect and analyze data. How do we make sure these AIs use this data to provide customers with the insights they want? Guaranteeing that ethics is central to AI developers’ decision-making process is not just a formality; it’s for our common good.
Automation and Regrowth
Tobi’s knack for comparison reaches beyond the 10 Commandments. When Danny Pancratz, C2C’s Director of Product, raised some concerns about automation and the necessity of higher-level work for employees whose jobs AI technology might replace, Wole likened the problem to cutting down a tree. If you’re going to cut something down––whether it’s a tree, or someone’s job––make sure you are preparing for more to grow back in its place.
Who is Responsible for AI Ethics?
Ethical questions tend to return us to our most basic values and beliefs, and in a way, the conversation ended where it began. Tobi interpreted the first Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me,” as a principle of accountability.
Branham asked the final question and wanted to know where the discussion of ethics should live on the teams that model AI. Oluwole mentioned developers and product teams, as well as management and executive management, but ultimately offered one clear answer: everyone who works in AI should be thinking about questions of ethics.