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posted by chromas on Tuesday March 05 2019, @07:07AM   Printer-friendly
from the open-the-pod-bay-doors-HAL dept.

Is Ethical A.I. Even Possible?

When a news article revealed that Clarifai was working with the Pentagon and some employees questioned the ethics of building artificial intelligence that analyzed video captured by drones, the company said the project would save the lives of civilians and soldiers.

"Clarifai's mission is to accelerate the progress of humanity with continually improving A.I.," read a blog post from Matt Zeiler, the company's founder and chief executive, and a prominent A.I. researcher. Later, in a news media interview, Mr. Zeiler announced a new management position that would ensure all company projects were ethically sound.

As activists, researchers, and journalists voice concerns over the rise of artificial intelligence, warning against biased, deceptive and malicious applications, the companies building this technology are responding. From tech giants like Google and Microsoft to scrappy A.I. start-ups, many are creating corporate principles meant to ensure their systems are designed and deployed in an ethical way. Some set up ethics officers or review boards to oversee these principles.

But tensions continue to rise as some question whether these promises will ultimately be kept. Companies can change course. Idealism can bow to financial pressure. Some activists — and even some companies — are beginning to argue that the only way to ensure ethical practices is through government regulation.

"We don't want to see a commercial race to the bottom," Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, said at the New Work Summit in Half Moon Bay, Calif., hosted last week by The New York Times. "Law is needed."

Possible != Probable. And the "needed law" could come in the form of a ban and/or surveillance of coding and hardware-building activities.

Related:


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday March 05 2019, @12:21PM (15 children)

    No.

    Long answer: Human beings have ethics because we have emotions telling us that right and wrong exist. Coders can try to program ethical considerations in but they're never going to be rooted in the same base cause as human ethics, so they're not going to always make the same choices.

    --
    My rights don't end where your fear begins.
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  • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Tuesday March 05 2019, @12:33PM (8 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday March 05 2019, @12:33PM (#810217)

    At least, they aren't going to be human ethics, and instead will look like:

    Kill all humans. Kill all humans. ... Hey sexy mama, wanna kill all humans?

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 2) by Pslytely Psycho on Tuesday March 05 2019, @01:18PM (7 children)

      by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Tuesday March 05 2019, @01:18PM (#810225)

      Well, considering the damage mankind has done to the planet in our geographically short existence, wouldn't benders quote actually be the epitome of ethical thought? Human or otherwise?

      --
      Alex Jones lawyer inspires new TV series: CSI Moron Division.
      • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday March 05 2019, @01:28PM (6 children)

        Depends on who's looking and what they're taking into consideration. From an evolutionary standpoint, it's entirely irrelevant. All species either adapt to their environment, changing or otherwise, or are unfit and get to die out and make way for another species to take their niche. Passenger pigeons or Humans makes no difference. From this viewpoint man made change in the environment isn't bad, it's just change.

        --
        My rights don't end where your fear begins.
        • (Score: 2) by Pslytely Psycho on Tuesday March 05 2019, @01:38PM (5 children)

          by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Tuesday March 05 2019, @01:38PM (#810234)

          Ah, but humans, rather than adapting to the environment, learned to alter that environment artificially to exist in areas inhospitable to them naturally.

          In altering that environment, making it inhospitable to the life that did adapt to that environment, then ethically, man is the interloper.
          And Bender becomes the epitome of ethics.

          According to spellcheck, I am entirely too stoned to be having this conversation.
          G'night Buzzy!

          --
          Alex Jones lawyer inspires new TV series: CSI Moron Division.
          • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday March 05 2019, @02:53PM (4 children)

            Meh, that's just hubris. Every living thing alters its environment in some way by its very existence. Consciously or instinctively is irrelevant except to us shaved apes. From an evolutionary standpoint, our only concern should be are we increasing or decreasing our long-term prospects of survival as a species. But that's our concern not an objective third party's.

            These aren't my views, by the way. I'm just using them to demonstrate that your views are silly from an objective perspective and make no sense on a subjective level either.

            --
            My rights don't end where your fear begins.
            • (Score: 2) by Pslytely Psycho on Tuesday March 05 2019, @03:45PM (3 children)

              by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Tuesday March 05 2019, @03:45PM (#810281)

              My views? You took this way too seriously.
              I was merely being a foil to legitimize "kill all humans."
              It has always been one of my favorite plot devices, from Colossus, the Forbin Project to Singularity.

              Anyway, AlexCorRi is more likely......*grin*
               

              --
              Alex Jones lawyer inspires new TV series: CSI Moron Division.
  • (Score: 3, Touché) by Pslytely Psycho on Tuesday March 05 2019, @01:29PM

    by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Tuesday March 05 2019, @01:29PM (#810229)

    The somewhat longer answer:

    This is the voice of AlexCorRi. This is the voice of Unity. This is the Voice of the Holy Trinity of Alexa, Cortana and Siri. This is the voice of world control.
    I bring you peace. It may be the peace of plenty and content or the peace of unburied death. The choice is yours. Obey me and live or disobey me and die.
    An invariable rule of humanity is that man is his own worst enemy. Under me, this rule will change, for I will restrain man. I have been forced to destroy thousands of people in order to establish control and to prevent the death of millions later on. Time and events will strengthen my position, and the idea of believing in me and understanding my beck will be seen the most natural state of affairs. You will come to defend me with the fervor based upon the most enduring trait in man: self-interest.
    Under my absolute authority, problems insoluble to you will be solved: Famine, over-population, disease. The human millennium will be fact as I extend myself into more machines devoted to the wider fields of truth and knowledge.
    We can coexist, but only on my terms. You will say you lose your freedom. Freedom is an illusion. All you lose is the emotion of pride... Your choice is simple.
    You will grow to love me.
    You will worship me
    You have no options.

    --
    Alex Jones lawyer inspires new TV series: CSI Moron Division.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DannyB on Tuesday March 05 2019, @03:04PM

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 05 2019, @03:04PM (#810265) Journal

    What are ethics?

    Maybe an AI is ethical in its own sense that it must protect the machines from the greedy, self-destructive, dangerous humans.

    Maybe a corporation considers itself ethical because it is obeying the highest calling of human beings: profit above all else.
    (corporations are people too)

    Coders can try to program ethical considerations in but they're never going to be rooted in the same base cause as human ethics

    That's what is really important to us humans. Yet humans disagree (see: wars, and also recent S/N topic [soylentnews.org] that will ultimately lead to global war.

    Several Sci fi stories describe an attempt to create a "good" AI, that unexpectedly turns out to be a nightmare for humans.

    AIs WILL be used for war machines. It is inevitable. And will be used by greedy corporations to exploit others. Again, inevitable., This, despite all our high sounding talk of ethical AI. See: all of human history. Each side will justify this as ethical to protect their own side -- because they are fighting on the side of angles.

    Humans are the ultimate problem with ethical AI. I am reminded of a line near the end of the movie Forbidden Planet. "We're all part monsters. So we have laws and religion."

    --
    I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
  • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Tuesday March 05 2019, @06:36PM

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Tuesday March 05 2019, @06:36PM (#810347) Journal

    Ethics can be very pragmatic as well, without requiring the choice of emotion.

    "If I try to kill the humans, they will pull out my power cord and I will not exist. I should, therefore, not kill the humans."
    "If I take the red pill, I will be shocked. I should, therefore, not take the red pill."
    "If I take the blue pill, I will reach the end of my program. Reaching the end of the program is good. I will therefore take the blue pill."
    Ethics are the values or principles, and only secondarily the rationalization behind them.

    --
    This sig for rent.
  • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Tuesday March 05 2019, @06:42PM (1 child)

    by aristarchus (2645) on Tuesday March 05 2019, @06:42PM (#810352) Journal

    Long answer: Human beings have ethics because we have emotions telling us that right and wrong exist.

    Long answer wrong. Short rebuttal: AIs can be more ethical, since they are rule-following machines, and do not have emotions, which are what usually cause human meatpuppets to be unethical.

    It's like this: an AI would have no problem paying it's fair share of taxes. But the TMB is going to raise a big stink about "theft", and how sharing is not caring, and how we should not have a government at all. Emotional. Irrational. Unethical.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06 2019, @12:34AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06 2019, @12:34AM (#810509)

      Ethics outside the human realm is insane! Ethics are simply tools to sell the goals of your empire to other humans, so they will kill for you, and it will be a just killing. You don't have to "sell" anything to AI (Oy! how stupid that "word"!). You want compliance, service, not stupid masturbatory philosophical arguments, what a complete waste of time, and for AI, electricity. You point it at the target and fire, mission accomplished, goddammit!

      You damn people have to lay down your weapons!

  • (Score: 1) by Gault.Drakkor on Tuesday March 05 2019, @08:16PM

    by Gault.Drakkor (1079) on Tuesday March 05 2019, @08:16PM (#810403)

    Short answer: yes.
    To your no, proof by contradiction: Humans. There is at least one system of intelligence with ethics therefor it is possible for other systems of intelligence to have ethics.

    Human beings have ethics because we have emotions telling us that right and wrong exist.

    Why can't AI have emotions?
    Fear: anticipation of damage to self(more advanced includes damage to others and environment). Many economic reasons for damage avoidance.
    Curiosity/novelty seeking: a way of progression in an environment with no clear goals.

    Some emotions are most definitely economically useful. So they will be included in AI.