My newest Ask-A-Data-Scientist post was inspired by a computer science student who wrote in asking for advice on how to pursue a career in policy making related to the societal impacts of AI. I realized that there are many great resources out there, and I wanted to compile a list of links all in one place. You can find my previous Ask-A-Data-Scientist advice columns here. Everyone in tech should be concerned about the ethical implications of our work and actively engaging with such questions. The humanities and social sciences are incredibly relevant and important in addressing ethics questions.
The New York Times has confirmed what some have long suspected: The Chinese government is using a "vast, secret system" of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to identify and track Uighurs--a Muslim minority, 1 million of whom are being held in detention camps in China's northwest Xinjiang province. This technology allows the government to extend its control of the Uighur population across the country. It may seem difficult to imagine a similar scenario in the U.S., but related technologies, built by Amazon, are already being used by U.S. law enforcement agencies to identify suspects in photos and video. And echoes of China's system can be heard in plans to deploy these technologies at the U.S.-Mexico border. A.I. systems also decide what information is presented to you on social media, which ads you see, and what prices you're offered for goods and services.
Besides being known as the happiest country in the world, Finland is a technology leader, ahead of China and the US. Finland is making good on its tech legacy, as the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Centre for Artificial Intelligence FCAI, and the City of Helsinki are collaborating to launch a free webinar on the Ethics of AI, followed by a full Ethics of AI course. The ethics of AI is a wildly broad and complex topic, since AI's implications are broad and complex. No industry has gone untouched by AI. In other words, he predicts that AI could cause a billion people to lose their jobs within a year of that article -- nine months from now, as of writing.
AI holds fantastic opportunities for large and small-medium organisations alike, and businesses are right to embrace them. Be it to improve back office operations, maximise marketing efforts or deploy predictive technologies to allocate resources more efficiently, algorithms have a lot to offer and we are seeing many organisations deploying AI systems already. Talking with industries as well as policy makers, I notice that we all seem to share the same belief, that is that innovation and ethics can go hand in hand. In fact, many believe that businesses that can utilise data, and do so ethically, have a clear competitive advantage. But how do we turn ethics into practice?
Burton, Emanuelle (University of Kentucky) | Goldsmith, Judy (University of Kentucky) | Koenig, Sven (University of Southern California) | Kuipers, Benjamin (University of Michigan) | Mattei, Nicholas (IBM Research) | Walsh, Toby (University of New South Wales and Data61)