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Understanding artificial intelligence ethics and safety

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

A remarkable time of human promise has been ushered in by the convergence of the ever-expanding availability of big data, the soaring speed and stretch of cloud computing platforms, and the advancement of increasingly sophisticated machine learning algorithms. Innovations in AI are already leaving a mark on government by improving the provision of essential social goods and services from healthcare, education, and transportation to food supply, energy, and environmental management. These bounties are likely just the start. The prospect that progress in AI will help government to confront some of its most urgent challenges is exciting, but legitimate worries abound. As with any new and rapidly evolving technology, a steep learning curve means that mistakes and miscalculations will be made and that both unanticipated and harmful impacts will occur. This guide, written for department and delivery leads in the UK public sector and adopted by the British Government in its publication, 'Using AI in the Public Sector,' identifies the potential harms caused by AI systems and proposes concrete, operationalisable measures to counteract them. It stresses that public sector organisations can anticipate and prevent these potential harms by stewarding a culture of responsible innovation and by putting in place governance processes that support the design and implementation of ethical, fair, and safe AI systems. It also highlights the need for algorithmically supported outcomes to be interpretable by their users and made understandable to decision subjects in clear, non-technical, and accessible ways. Finally, it builds out a vision of human-centred and context-sensitive implementation that gives a central role to communication, evidence-based reasoning, situational awareness, and moral justifiability.


The Ethics of AI Ethics -- An Evaluation of Guidelines

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Current advances in research, development and application of artificial intelligence (AI) systems have yielded a far-reaching discourse on AI ethics. In consequence, a number of ethics guidelines have been released in recent years. These guidelines comprise normative principles and recommendations aimed to harness the "disruptive" potentials of new AI technologies. Designed as a comprehensive evaluation, this paper analyzes and compares these guidelines highlighting overlaps but also omissions. As a result, I give a detailed overview of the field of AI ethics. Finally, I also examine to what extent the respective ethical principles and values are implemented in the practice of research, development and application of AI systems - and how the effectiveness in the demands of AI ethics can be improved.


The European Perspective on Responsible Computing

Communications of the ACM

We live in the digital world, where every day we interact with digital systems either through a mobile device or from inside a car. These systems are increasingly autonomous in making decisions over and above their users or on behalf of them. As a consequence, ethical issues--privacy ones included (for example, unauthorized disclosure and mining of personal data, access to restricted resources)--are emerging as matters of utmost concern since they affect the moral rights of each human being and have an impact on the social, economic, and political spheres. Europe is at the forefront of the regulation and reflections on these issues through its institutional bodies. Privacy with respect to the processing of personal data is recognized as part of the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals.


Teaching Responsible Data Science: Charting New Pedagogical Territory

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Although numerous ethics courses are available, with many focusing specifically on technology and computer ethics, pedagogical approaches employed in these courses rely exclusively on texts rather than on software development or data analysis. Technical students often consider these courses unimportant and a distraction from the "real" material. To develop instructional materials and methodologies that are thoughtful and engaging, we must strive for balance: between texts and coding, between critique and solution, and between cutting-edge research and practical applicability. Finding such balance is particularly difficult in the nascent field of responsible data science (RDS), where we are only starting to understand how to interface between the intrinsically different methodologies of engineering and social sciences. In this paper we recount a recent experience in developing and teaching an RDS course to graduate and advanced undergraduate students in data science. We then dive into an area that is critically important to RDS -- transparency and interpretability of machine-assisted decision-making, and tie this area to the needs of emerging RDS curricula. Recounting our own experience, and leveraging literature on pedagogical methods in data science and beyond, we propose the notion of an "object-to-interpret-with". We link this notion to "nutritional labels" -- a family of interpretability tools that are gaining popularity in RDS research and practice. With this work we aim to contribute to the nascent area of RDS education, and to inspire others in the community to come together to develop a deeper theoretical understanding of the pedagogical needs of RDS, and contribute concrete educational materials and methodologies that others can use. All course materials are publicly available at https://dataresponsibly.github.io/courses.


Teaching AI, Ethics, Law and Policy

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The cyberspace and the development of new technologies, especially intelligent systems using artificial intelligence, present enormous challenges to computer professionals, data scientists, managers and policy makers. There is a need to address professional responsibility, ethical, legal, societal, and policy issues. This paper presents problems and issues relevant to computer professionals and decision makers and suggests a curriculum for a course on ethics, law and policy. Such a course will create awareness of the ethics issues involved in building and using software and artificial intelligence.